Vanilla Flan

Easy Organic Vanilla Flan

Happy New Year everyone! This has been an unseasonably warm winter, even for Florida. I think new record high temperatures were set for December. It was a bit hard to get into the holiday spirit with such warm weather. So instead, in the spirit of the milder temperatures, I decided to go tropical and make a creamy, delicious and easy organic vanilla flan! My husband lived for many years in Madrid, and he says that this is the best flan he has ever eaten.
I should tell you that this is not a make it and eat it the same day kind of dessert. You should definitely make it the day before you want to serve it. If you have never made flan before, what are you waiting for? It is really easy. I promise. The most challenging part is making the caramel sauce, but that really isn’t difficult either. And all you need are six ingredients! Are you ready? Let’s make flan!

Easy Organic Vanilla Flan

Easy Organic Vanilla Flan after inversion onto a plate.

Easy Organic Vanilla Flan
2/3 cup organic sugar
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed organic orange juice
1 14 ounce can organic sweetened condensed milk
1 12 ounce can organic evaporated milk
5 large organic eggs
1 tablespoon organic vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Get a small to medium sized heavy saucepan. Add your sugar and orange juice. Cook over medium-high heat stirring constantly until sugar dissolves and the mixture turns a golden-amber color. You don’t want it to get too dark or it will taste burnt. Remove from heat and pour directly into an 8- or 9-inch round cake pan. With oven mitts on, quickly move around cake pan to cover the bottom with the caramel sauce. The caramel sauce will cool and set up into a hard-candy mass in a very short time. Plus, the temperature of the sauce will make the pan very hot also, so be sure to wear oven mitts.

This next step can be done a variety of different ways. You can use a blender, immersion blender, a bowl and whisk, whatever. Choose your method. I prefer the immersion blender method. Combine the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, eggs and vanilla and blend well. Pour this mixture into the cake pan on top of the caramel sauce. Tightly cover the pan with aluminum foil. Take the cake pan and set it inside of a larger (and equally deep, but not deeper) pan. Put this into the oven add hot water to the larger, outer pan to halfway up the side of the cake pan holding the flan mixture. This is a water bath, what the French call a Bain Marie. It helps cook the flan to a creamy consistency instead of a scrambled egg consistency. Believe me, you don’t want to do this without the water bath. Bake the flan in the water bath for 50 minutes to an hour. Remove it from the oven and from the water bath and place into the refrigerator overnight.

When you are ready to serve the flan, remove it from the refrigerator. Run a clean knife around the outside edge of the cake pan to loosen it from the sides of the pan. Place your serving plate upside-down onto the cake pan. Hold on to the plate and the pan and invert. The flan should fall cleanly out of the pan onto your plate with the sauce, which has turned back into a sauce. There will be a little bit of hard caramel stuck to the pan, but hot water and soap should take that right off. Cut your flan with a sharp knife like you would cut a pie. Serve with the sauce and enjoy!!

Vanilla Flan

Oatmeal Two Ways

I kept up on the sugar-free, dairy-free, grain-free diet for exactly two full months. It felt more like two full years. Last Sunday at my two daughters’ birthday party, I decided I would eat whatever I wanted, mainly because I was making a cake that is the best cake ever. Long story short, I didn’t eat that much that day, but I felt a satisfaction that I hadn’t felt for two months. At the end of the day, I said to my husband, “I feel great!” So that was the end of that. Though I am still going to do my best to keep my sugar consumption to a minimum.

Sometime within the last year, my doctor warned me that I was headed down the road toward type-2 diabetes. This is one of my nightmares. I love baking and I love sweets. It’s just part of who I am. Instead of giving up the baking of sweet things that I love, I decided to cut out sugar in other areas of my life. I no longer sweeten my coffee. I didn’t think I would ever be able to drink coffee without sugar, but I have gotten used to it. Along the same line, I also quit eating sweet oatmeal. You might not think that either of these sacrifices really constitutes as a sacrifice, but I used to put two tablespoons of sugar per cup of coffee. And I would drink two cups of coffee each morning. That is 1/4 cup less sugar every morning. I also used to sweeten my oatmeal with 1/4 cup of sugar. That’s a lot of sugar!!

My grandfather had type-2 diabetes for the last decades of his life. Every morning he would eat oatmeal with butter and salt and pepper on it. I always thought that his oatmeal must be disgusting. When I decided to cut the sugar from my oatmeal, I decided to try a little different take on his oatmeal. Have you ever read the directions on a box or can of oatmeal? It says to cook the oatmeal in water with a little salt. Who eats their oatmeal that way? From what I read on the steel-cut oats can, this must be a traditional Scottish way to eat oatmeal. I’m not there yet and I’m not interested in ever getting to that point. I hope my Scottish blood line will forgive me.

You have heard it at one point or another that breakfast is the most important part of the day. I completely agree, but you need to make good choices to fuel your body for the day ahead. This first recipe for oatmeal is hearty and satisfying and will keep you from getting hungry for quite a while. Pair it with some protein, like a handful of almonds or a scrambled egg, and you’ll keep yourself fueled and keep hunger at bay for several hours.

Buttery Oatmeal

My younger daughter, very excited to have buttery oatmeal, that she requested, for breakfast! She won’t eat the sweet oatmeal.

Oatmeal Two Ways — First Buttery Oatmeal, then Sugar and Spice Oatmeal:

Buttery Oatmeal

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup organic whole milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup organic whole rolled oats
  • 1 Tablespoon organic butter

Bring water, milk and salt almost to a boil over high heat in a large, heavy saucepan. Add oats, reduce heat to low and stir. Cook oats until they are almost to the consistency that you like them, anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes, depending on what temperature your stove thinks is low. Stir occasionally during cooking. Remember that oats will thicken as they cool, so you don’t want to cook them until they are at the consistency that you like, otherwise, they will be too thick once they are cool enough to eat. Put your oats into a bowl and add butter. Stir and enjoy. You can always add a little more milk, cream or half and half to your oats to thin and cool them. This recipe makes one to two servings, depending on how much oatmeal you like to eat at breakfast.

For extra protein, nutrition and flavor, you can add chopped nuts, chia, hemp or flax seeds to your cooked oatmeal.

Now, for those of you who have children that I cook for on a regular basis, you might want the recipe for the oatmeal that I make for your kids. This is also the way that I used to eat my oatmeal, and the way that my older daughter prefers it. She has gotten used to the buttery oatmeal though. This recipe should make enough for two to three kids, or one to two adults.

Sugar & Spice Oatmeal

  • 2 cups organic whole milk
  • 1/4 cup organic sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon organic nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon organic clove (optional, I don’t always have it, so I don’t always use it)
  • 1 cup organic whole rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

Bring milk, sugar and spices almost to a boil over high heat in a large, heavy saucepan. Add oats, reduce heat to low and stir. Cook oats until they are almost to the consistency that you like them, anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. Stir occasionally during cooking. Follow what I said about oat consistency in the above recipe. When oats are ready, remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Serve and enjoy. As with the previous recipe, you may add more milk, cream or half and half to thin and cool your oats. Just remember, if you eat your oats this way, don’t do it everyday. Otherwise, you may have your doctor giving you a diabetes warning. This should be considered a special treat, comfort food kind of breakfast.

Try them both and leave a comment below letting me know which one you like better and why.