Carrot Cake Oatmeal
Nothing says carrot cake like Easter. I don't know why. It's the only time of year I crave it. But I'm not a baker. I'm too free-spirited for baking, I think. I don't like the commitment of baking. I need to be able to taste and adjust as a I go...and that's just not the way baking works, in my limited experience. Naturally, I was pretty excited about turning a baked good into an oatmeal that's ready to eat in 20 minutes or less.
Let's talk about carrots for a sec, more specifically, beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A (often called pro-vitamin A), meaning that beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A by our bodies. Beta-carotene is found most in carrots (from which carotene gets its name), broccoli, dark leafy greens, and most yellow and orange vegetables. Beta-carotene improves the growth, reparability, elasticity, strength, and resistance of internal and external tissues in the body. Vitamin A and beta-carotene also improve resistance and immune response by helping the thymus produce more T cells, which fight invading organisms and increase the effectiveness of the cells that produce antibodies. Optimal amounts of vitamin A or beta-carotene can prevent normal cells for mutating into cancerous ones after exposure to a carcinogen, such as radiation or chemical pollution.
Interestingly, a medical study in the 80's demonstrated that beta-carotene was far more effective in preventing cancer than vitamin A, suggesting that vegetable sources of the precursor beta-carotene may be healthier than the animal foods that are rich in vitamin A (i.e. fish-liver oil).
To optimize the health benefits of the carrot, its best to consume them raw. But, better to eat a cooked carrot than a bag of chips!
2 cups of rolled oats
2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4.5 cups of water
1/2 cup of coconut sugar
3/4 cup of raisins (or more)
1/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, alcohol free
1.5 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
In a large saucepan, combine oats, carrots, water, and salt. Bring mixture up to a low boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once the oatmeal is boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until it starts to thicken into a porridge consistency. This should take 10 minutes or less.
Once you've reached your desired thickness, remove from heat. Add coconut sugar, raisins, coconut flakes, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, and ground cardamom. Stir until everything is mixed well and serve immediately. If you find that your oatmeal is a bit too thick, simply add a few tablespoons of water (or coconut milk) to thin it out. Top with nuts, more raisins, or a splash of coconut milk and enjoy!