Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal Recipe (That Kids Love!)

apple cinnamon baked oatmeal recipe
I initially started making this apple cinnamon baked oatmeal recipe about a year ago, from a recipe a friend had given me. Over time, I’ve adjusted and switched it up again and again, and now it’s a permanent staple in our breakfast rotation! It’s a great recipe because you can really customize it to your taste and your family’s liking. What’s more, you can prep it the night before and bake it the next morning and it works perfectly. It’s low in sugar but because it tastes so good, you don’t miss any of the extra junk that comes in pre-packaged oatmeal. But the real testament to this stuff is that our toddlers request it all the time, so here’s our Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal recipe that kids love!

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups milk (we use almond or nonfat)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 apples, peeled and diced

Instructions

Lightly grease a 2-quart casserole dish with butter, cooking spray, or similar. If you’ll be cooking the oatmeal directly after you prepare it, preheat the oven to 375.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients (rolled oats, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, salt) and mix well. (I like to use a large wooden spoon for this recipe!) After the dry ingredients are mixed well, add all wet ingredients to the same bowl and mix well again. The mixture will be pretty wet.
Set the bowl aside and peel and coarsely chop your apples. Add the apples to the bowl and mix to incorporate.
If you’re baking the oatmeal right away, place it in the oven for 35-40 minutes, just until the corners start to bubble! Remove from the oven and let stand for a few minutes before serving.
If you’re prepping the oatmeal to cook the next day, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When you’re ready to cook it, I recommend placing the cold dish in an unheated oven and then turning the oven on to heat the dish gradually. Cook for 35 minutes, or until the corners start to bubble.
We usually take a few days to eat the entire dish and it keeps beautifully! If you’re not eating it right out of the oven, it’s great with a little extra milk poured over the top before you reheat it. And feel free to switch up the fruit! We do a berries and cream version sometimes, with strawberries and blueberries substituted for the apples (use about 3 cups of berries) and a little fresh whipped cream over the top (cut back to 1/2 tbsp of cinnamon for this version). Go wild and make up your own flavors for this beauty of a recipe! Or go classic and do the apple cinnamon baked oatmeal. You just can’t go wrong. Enjoy! xoxo
apple cinnamon baked oatmeal recipe
apple cinnamon baked oatmeal recipe

Our Go-To Trader Joe's Shopping List

Trader Joe's shopping list
I’m gonna be straight-up honest here and let you know right off the bat that Ryan is the grocery shopper in our family. I know! A dude who’s cute and does the shopping? Jackpot. But over the years we’ve definitely honed our Trader Joe’s shopping list together, as we’ve figured out what we love, don’t like, and what now works for our family of four (helloooo, toddlers). The great thing is that our Trader Joe’s go-to shopping list checks all the marks, and there’s definitely something for everyone. I actually think that it’s a great place to grocery shop for kids because there are lots of healthy (and organic) options with flavor profiles that encourage them to be a little adventurous in their eating habits. This list is full of our very favorite, tried-and-true items that we always have stocked in our pantry or fridge.

Trader Joe’s Shopping List

Produce Section

We often get our produce from our local Farmers Market, but we do have a few things that we love to pick up at Trader Joe’s. Here are our faves.

  • Shelled edamame. Great for kids’ snacks or adding to a stir fry or salad.
  • Steam-in-the-bag veggies. We often do the green beans or broccoli. Perfect for putting together a quick and simple dinner. We steam them a little extra for kiddos with no teeth. 😉
  • Limes. For some reason, the TJ’s limes are better and cheaper than anywhere else!
  • Fresh flowers. Their florals are always fresh and totally affordable.

Meat and Dairy Section

TJ’s has an awesome selection of pre-seasoned meat, fish, and more — and a killer cheese section, too. These are great places to stock up for easy weeknight dinners, or if you’re entertaining soon.

  • Ground Turkey. Always the most budget-friendly ground turkey we can find (and it’s great quality).
  • Tamales. If you can’t get fresh, handmade tamales, these are a pretty good substitute.
  • Pizza Dough. Hands-down, one of the things we stock up on most at TJ’s. The Garlic and Herb is amazing, and they have plain or whole wheat as well. We often have pizza nights where we prep the dough and let the kids choose and add their own toppings. We’ve been using this dough for almost 10 years now and love it every time.
  • Cheese. All of it! The selection is amazing and it’s more affordable than almost anywhere else. I love the Triple Cream Brie.
  • Nonfat Greek Yogurt. We always keep a selection of flavors on hand for kid and grownup snacks. (Favorite flavors are pomegranate, blueberry, and honey.)

Snack Section

I think we can all agree that the Trader Joe’s snacks are next level. I just love combing through the aisles looking for new things to try! Here are the ones that are always on our Trader Joe’s shopping list.

  • Some Enchanted Cracker. Always my favorite cracker for dressing up with meats, cheeses, dips, and more.
  • Sweet, Savory, & Tart Trail Mix. The kids love this stuff (just make sure no one’s allergic to nuts!). It’s full of protein, and has some sweet treats in it too.
  • Organic Mini Sandwich Crackers. I have to put the brakes on, because my kids would eat these by the handful (they have peanut butter or cheese flavor).
  • Fruit Pouches. We get these four-packs of pouches to have on hand for the kids, mostly during travel or for on-the-go snacks.

Freezer Section

The freezer section has been our savior on more than one occasion! While we try not to eat a lot of frozen food, we keep these standards around for a quick meal when needed.

  • Meatless Breakfast Patties. Both of our kids love these, and it’s a fast way to get a little protein into their breakfast if they won’t eat eggs.
  • Gnocchi a la Sorrentina. If you asked Henry, he would tell you this was his favorite meal in the whole world.
  • Party Meatballs. Awesome for adding to pasta dishes. Also a great meat for little ones who can’t chew tough meat.
  • Turkey Corndogs. They don’t have these often but they love them.
  • Frozen Rice. We do the brown rice, the jasmine rice, or the rice medley, depending on the meal. It cooks really quickly right in the bag so it’s great if you’re in a time crunch.

Sauces & Dips

I could go on and on about the sauce section, but we’d be here all day. So here are the jars and bottles that we always have on hand.

  • Olive Tapenade. Another one that we’ve been buying since we first met. Put this out with a cheese and cracker platter at a party.
  • Curry Sauces. We use the green, red, or yellow when we’re making a stir fry. Combine with some chicken and veggies and serve over rice for one of our go-to meals.
  • Sriracha Garlic BBQ Sauce. This stuff is not joking around. Perfect for seasoning meat or for dipping. Ryan makes party meatballs with it and they’re insanely good.

Hope our Trader Joe’s shopping list helps you out! I’d love to know if you have any favorites that you always pick up when you’re there. Happy shopping! xoxo

Not Your Grandma's Snack: Mandarin Granola Parfait

Simple and healthy mandarin granola parfait recipe
Simple and healthy mandarin granola parfait recipe
Simple and healthy mandarin granola parfait recipe

This post is sponsored by Wonderful Halos. All ideas and opinions are my own. Thank you for being supportive of the partners who help keep Lovely Indeed rocking!

Psst. Hey. Hey you mom. You want in on a secret? These fancy-schmancy-looking parfaits took about one minute each to make. And my kids love them. Like, deeply love these things. I’m not sure if it’s the fancy cup, or the tiny spoon, or the fact that they’re filled with Wonderful Halos, but my children practically inhale these treats. And that’s awesome, because every bit of them is something that I feel good about serving to those little munchkins of mine.  As far as snacks go, I feel like I’m a middle-of-the-road mom most of the time. I really strive to stay away from sugary stuff and we do pretty well there, but sometimes we just get bored with the same old thing. So when I can come up with something (like these mandarin granola parfaits) that my kids love and that are packed with healthy ingredients, I seriously feel like I should hang a medal around my neck.
And not for nothing, but presentation is key, right?! Give a kid a fancy cup and a tiny spoon and they’re on top of the world. So this is like the icing on the cake. What really matters is what’s inside. Those pretty layers of Greek yogurt and granola are a perfect combination with the Wonderful Halos. The sweet, seedless, and easy to peel Halos mandarins provide a fun, colorful, and healthy pop to finish it all off!
Ingredients

  • Wonderful Halos mandarins
  • vanilla Greek yogurt (or your favorite flavor)
  • granola
  • optional: mint sprig
  • clear cups for serving

Start by spreading a layer of yogurt at the bottom of your cup. If you’re serving from an individual portion of yogurt, I like to use about half the container. If you’re using a larger container, spread about a third of a cup.
On top of the yogurt, sprinkle a layer of granola. I like to use a granola that’s not too tough to chew, in case you’re serving to little ones with budding teeth. Spread about a quarter cup of granola.
Peel a Wonderful Halos mandarin and split in half. Slice the halves a couple of times so that once you separate the mandarin wedges, you have small chunks of fruit. Sprinkle the mandarin chunks over the granola.

Top it all off with another dollop of yogurt — either finish off your single-serve container or use another third of a cup.
Simple and healthy mandarin granola parfait recipe
Garnish with a dusting of granola, a couple of mandarin wedges, and a sprig of mint for fun.
Can you imagine if you showed up with these for a school snack or birthday celebration? Kids and moms alike would be in heaven. It’s a perfect idea for snack duty because they’re so simple and fast to make (especially if you do it assembly line-style), but are healthy and bursting with Pure Goodness. High fives all around! xoxo
Simple and healthy mandarin granola parfait recipe
Simple and healthy mandarin granola parfait recipe
Simple and healthy mandarin granola parfait recipe
Simple and healthy mandarin granola parfait recipe

Make Bunny Pancakes for Easter!

How to make bunny pancakes for Easter
How to make bunny pancakes for Easter
How to make bunny pancakes for Easter
How to make bunny pancakes for Easter
This year on Valentine’s Day, I set up a little surprise party for our family in the studio and made pancakes in the shape of x’s and o’s. My kids went nuts. So I’m keeping a good thing going for Easter! Apparently I’m pretty handy with a holiday pancake. Who knew?! But I definitely think you should join me and make bunny pancakes for Easter.
Half the fun, of course, is eating them in your jammies. And all of my over-the-top Easter morning dreams came true in the form of these bunny jams. There’s just something that gives you all the heart eyes to see your little family in matching jams, right down to the baby in a onesie. So. Cute. These are the Rabbit Rider jammies from Hanna Andersson (and if you’ve never had Hanna jams, they’re realllly comfy — soft and smooth and just so good).
How to make bunny pancakes for Easter
How to make bunny pancakes for Easter
So once you’ve got your jammie game on point, get your pancake game rocking! I learned a few things with my XO pancakes that helped the bunnies go pretty nicely.
Step 1: Mix up your favorite pancake batter from scratch or from a box. We don’t judge! But either way, the key is to get out alllll the lumps. No lumps allowed. I used a whisk and then an immersion blender to really smooth it out.
Step 2: Fill an icing bottle with the batter and attach a regular round tip. Be sure there’s a wide enough opening for the batter to squeeze out fairly quickly. We used an 1/8″ tip.
Step 3: Heat up a griddle or pan. I like to cook these on a lower heat because they cook really quickly.
Step 4: Working quickly, squeeze out a circle and fill it in. Then squeeze two ears that connect to the circle. You have to move swiftly so it all cooks evenly. You’ll probably need to flip it after only 10-20 seconds or so.
Step 5: Flip the pancake to cook on the other side, remove from heat, and make more bunnies!
How to make bunny pancakes for Easter
How to make bunny pancakes for Easter
I garnished ours with some fresh fruit and the kids just thought it was the fanciest thing. They were jumping around the studio and having the best time. We always, always sit at the table for meals, so the fact that we weren’t making them sit down to eat had them totally over the moon. I love doing these special little things to make holiday memories! I think bunny pancakes are going to be in the picture for lots of Easters to come. Matching jammies and jumping on the couch included. 😉
Do you have any Easter traditions? And more importantly, are there any matching pajamas in your future? I’m kind of already planning our Christmas jammies and I’m wondering just how long I can get away with making us all match before the kids catch on… Ha! xoxo
This post is sponsored by Hanna Andersson. All ideas and opinions are my very own. Thank you for being supportive of the partners who help keep Lovely Indeed rocking!
How to make bunny pancakes for Easter
How to make bunny pancakes for Easter