Mocha Coconut Oatmeal

“The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.” (Source)

It’s no secret that I love oatmeal.

Mocha coconut oatmeal

Mocha coconut oatmeal

While a basic bowl is always delicious, sometimes I wake up feeling indulgent–and this bowl certainly is, with coffee AND chocolate mixed in. But an indulgent morning is about more than food.

Breakfast is served

Breakfast is served

Cooking helps me to slow down and to see the details within the everyday routine of my life. Starting my day with a bit of breakfast indulgence means more than adding chocolate to my oats, it means taking time to create a breakfast lovely enough to photograph and unique enough to make the day “special.”

Indulging in my morning means really noticing they way the soft spring sunlight streams into my apartment; feeling connected to my husband as we sit on the couch to eat breakfast and watch the Today show together; not responding to the inevitable buzz of my phone as work emails start to come in.

Coconut cream on top

Coconut cream on top

I increasingly find myself wanting to resist the “busy trap” of modern society, even as I say “yes” to too many things and inevitably overcommit myself. I need reminders that idleness is healthy, and spending time in the kitchen helps me to do just that. So oatmeal like this becomes a small way in which I am able to slow down and indulge a little, to notice the details and to enjoy my morning routine a bit more.

Digging in

Digging in

Mocha Coconut Oatmeal

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 banana, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat, from a can)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon raw cacao powder
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • top with coconut cream*, coconut flakes, and cacao nibs

*Place can of coconut milk in the freezer for 30 minutes. Skim coconut cream off the top. Pour the remaining liquid into ice cube trays and freeze for later use (in smoothies).

Method

Combine oats, banana, coffee, coconut milk, water, cacao powder, and cayenne in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir vigorously to combine. Cook about 5 minutes; transfer oats to a bowl; top with coconut cream, cacao nibs, and coconut flakes. Indulge!

Morning indulgence

Morning indulgence

How do you find small ways to slow down and indulge throughout your day?

-L

Apricot Coconut Quick Bread

When we started this blog almost a year ago, I wasn’t quite sure why I really wanted to try out this whole blogging thing.

I have worked to improve my food photography skills, sometimes with success, and other times, less successfully. But in the past few months I have realized that photography is not my passion.

Apricot Coconut Quick Bread

Apricot Coconut Quick Bread

Sometimes the lighting in my apartment is just right, and I love taking photos of my food. I love that I have learned to use my husband’s DSLR, and I am very proud of how far my photos have come.

But sometimes, the lighting is just blah and I am more invested in the process of cooking and sharing the food I make with others than in the process of photographing my food.

Sliced bread

Sliced bread

In the almost year we have been blogging, I have invented some delicious new recipes, but in the past few months I have realized that recipe development is not my passion.

I much prefer to be inspired by other peoples’ recipes or to just throw “a little of this and a little of that” into a dish, no measurements required. By the time Friday rolls around, I have pinned and bookmarked more recipes than I could ever tackle in one weekend, and I don’t really feel like creating something “new” of my own.

(Note: Mom got a new bunny apron this year!)

(Note: Mom got a new bunny apron this year!)

But blogging has helped me to learn more about myself and to find a way to articulate my true passion(s). It has helped me to understand why I cook, and it has awakened in me a curiosity about why other people cook.

Blogging has helped me to learn more about our food system, and to understand how my personal choices can and do have an impact on our larger food culture and food systems.

Blogging has helped me to understand that the pursuit of self knowledge and taking time out for self care make me a better person not only for those I love, but also enables me to work towards something greater than myself.

Hello gorgeous!

Hello gorgeous!

Blogging has helped my sister and I connect over food in a new way, and it has created a platform by which my family has begun to share stories about out “kitchen history.”

After losing our Grandma last August, these stories are more important than ever. They are slowing coming out—like a few weeks ago, when my Aunt Kris followed up on my post about pizza with an email telling me that Grandma used to make huge batches of pesto, with basil that the neighbors left on the porch for her (the whole plant, roots and all!), and froze it in ice cube trays to have on hand whenever it was needed.

Freshly baked

Freshly baked

All of this is to say that as life has gotten busy in the past few months, the frequency of our posts has decreased, and will likely continue to remain at 1 or 2 posts per week rather than 3 or 4. But I will continue to document and recount my kitchen adventures when I can! I assure you that I spend most weekends on my feet making one thing after another, even when I forget to take photos.

I whipped up this lovely loaf of bread last Saturday to serve on Sunday morning for Easter Brunch with the East Coast portion of my family (Casey was sorely missed). Inspired by Smitten Kitchen, I did what Deb said was not necessary, and adapted Bill Granger’s recipe for Coconut Bread. I wanted to incorporate the dried apricots that my sister’s mother-in-law brought as part of a house-warming basket for my parents, and this bread seemed the perfect use.

While I have no doubt that the original recipe was fabulous, I really love the addition of the apricots.

Served for Easter Brunch

Served for Easter Brunch

Apricot Coconut Quick Bread

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups canned coconut milk milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes 
  • 3/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 

Method

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar and coconut, and stir to mix. Make a well in the center, and pour in egg mixture, then stir wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Add butter, coconut, and apricots and stir until just smooth — be careful not to overmix.

Butter and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan, or coat it with a nonstick spray. Spread batter in pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool in pan 10 – 15 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Hope you had a happy Easter with your loved ones!

-L

Buckwheat Granola and Other Musings

Spring is officially here!

Bust out the colorful bowls!

Bust out the colorful bowls!

Though winter is holding on tight (we have a chance of snow again this weekend…), there is a shift in the energy lately. The extra hour of daylight, the first purple buds popping up on the trees, and the daffodils offering a sunny “hello!” hint of the good things that are just around the corner. I for one am anxiously awaiting the opening of the City Market on April 6!

In the mean time, I’m making basics like granola, and busting out my bunny apron to use as a photography backdrop.

Buckwheat granola

Buckwheat granola

This week has been busy, but in the best way possible. Early in the mornings, my yoga practice has taken a step forward as I started learning the Advanced A series (just the first two poses), and returned to practicing tic-tocs after a few weeks of taking it easy. In the day time, work is going well, and I have been enjoying many new opportunities to expand my leadership in the past few weeks. On weekends, we have been seeing a lot of our family, with more to come next weekend for Easter.

Life is good.

So is this granola.

Simple and Delicious

Simple and Delicious

Inspired by many other bloggers, I have been exploring buckwheat in many forms lately. I bought a big bag of raw buckwheat groats in bulk, and have been using them as a crunchy topping for salads and smoothies, blended as breakfast porridge, cooked into oats, ground into flour for muffins, and tossed with oats, pecans, and sunflower seeds in this simple granola.

You could add coconut flakes or dried fruit, but I decided to keep things simple. Pecans are by far my favorite breakfast nut (yes, that is a thing), especially when they are toasted. I used the overnight method, and was once again pleased with the crunchy result (not to mention the delicious aroma in my kitchen).

Granola

Granola pile

Buckwheat Granola

Inspired by Kath Eats

Ingredients

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup raw pecans
  • 3/4 cup raw buckwheat groats
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
  • scant 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Method

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and spread onto a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring at 15 minutes intervals. Turn the oven off and leave granola in the oven overnight. In the morning, it will be perfectly crunchy!

This week's breakfast, on repeat.

This week’s breakfast, on repeat.

Simple, no fuss, perfectly delicious, homemade granola–what more could you ask for?!

I have been enjoying the same breakfast all week– Greek yogurt, sliced banana, a drizzle of coconut milk, a drizzle of Blackstrap molasses, and granola on top! I’m not usually a “repeat” kind of girl when it comes to breakfast, but this combo is so good, I’ve just wanted more and more of it.

Hope your Spring is off to a wonderful start!

-L

Maca for Breakfast

left of center

Maca and Pistachio Pulp Overnight Oats

When Casey and I were home in Texas at the holidays, we went to two or three stores in a search of Maca Powder, which we needed to make Sarah B’s Superfood Haute Chocolate. I was lucky enough to bring home the bags of Navitas Naturals Maca powder and raw cacao powder, and I have been having fun adding them to various kitchen experiments.

Last week, I went on a Maca kick, adding a teaspoon or two to a variety of breakfast dishes.

Maca, cacao, raspberries, and coconut milk + oats

Maca, cacao, raspberries, and coconut milk + oats

Maca is the root of a plant that is native to the Andean highlands of Bolivia and Peru. The root is ground to make the powder, which was prized by the Incans for its ability to energize naturally. Maca powder contains essential vitamins and minerals, amino acids, and fiber (more details). The taste is a bit strange at first, but it is somewhat reminiscent of butterscotch, and tastes great in oats, smoothies, and yogurt. I particularly enjoy it combined with ginger and a pinch of cayenne.

I also saw a suggestion for replacing morning coffee with Maca powder mixed with apple cider, and it provides energy without stressing the metabolism first thing in the morning. I might have to try this, as stable blood sugar throughout the morning hours tends to be an issue for me.

Here are a few of the ways I have been enjoying Maca powder in my breakfast creations:

tilted bowl

Oats, maca, and pistachio pulp

Maca and Pistachio Overnight Oats

  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup pistachio pulp
  • 1.5 teaspoons maca powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • dash dry ginger
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • toppings: pistachios, diced apples
Maca Mango Smoothie

Maca Mango Smoothie

Maca Mango Smoothie

  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 3/4 cup frozen mango
  • 2 teaspoons maca powder
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • pinch each dry ginger, cayenne
  • Top with raw buckwheat groats and popped amaranth
Maca Peanut Butter Oatmeal

Maca Peanut Butter Oatmeal

Maca Oatmeal

  • 1/3 cup Coach’s Oats
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons maca powder
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • pinch each ginger and cayenne
  • banana, divided
  • Peanut Butter
version 2, bowl

Maca Cacao Overnight Oats

Maca and Cacao Overnight Oats

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder
  • 1 teaspoon raw cacao powder
  • Frozen raspberries
  • top with sliced banana
Smoothie in a bowl!

Smoothie in a bowl!

Have you ever tried maca powder? Any suggestions for ways to use it?

-L

Almond Meal Pancakes and Raspberry Compote

Brinner

Brinner

Without a doubt, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  Breakfast, Brunch, Brinner… I’ll eat breakfast food any time of day!

Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Garlic

Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Garlic

I’ve been wanting to make buckwheat pancakes, but couldn’t find buckwheat flour at the store.  I decided to experiment with almond meal instead!  They didn’t hold their shape well, but they tasted delicious.  I whipped up a simple raspberry compote to serve on top, and made scrambled eggs with spinach and garlic to have on the side.

Pancakes, Eggs, and Compote

Pancakes, Eggs, and Compote

Almond Meal Pancakes

Serves 1

  • 1/2 cup almond meal**
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup soy or nut milk
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • Raspberry compote, recipe below

Stir together almond meal and baking powder in a large bowl.  Add banana and milk, and beat until smooth.

Melt coconut oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.  Pour batter into rounds, 1/3 cup at a time.  Flip the pancake when the batter starts to bubble.  Cook until both sides are golden brown.  Serve with raspberry compote.

**Almond meal can be replaced with buckwheat flour.

Almond Meal Pancakes

Almond Meal Pancakes

Raspberry Compote

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the brown sugar and lemon juice.  Cook until sugar dissolves.  Add berries and cook, tossing gently, until berries are warm and juices release, 2-3 minutes.  Serve warm.

Raspberry Compote

Raspberry Compote

I enjoyed this for a Tuesday evening Brinner (breakfast for dinner), before heading out to see the lighting of the Bay Bridge.  It was a great, simple meal before a fun night out in the city!  Such fun!

Another view

Another view

Check out Lindsey’s Almond Pulp Crackers for another exciting (and more successful) use for almond meal.

Happy Eating!

-C