When I started this blog, my goal was for each post to be about whatever I was passionate about that week. Yes, I am that fickle and my mind changes that frequently, actually even more so, but that is another story all together. My post, in the beginning were all about eating out, as that is what I enjoy the most. I don’t know if I am “nesting” or what, but lately I have noticed that at least every other post is about cooking at home; Nothing fancy, mostly simple comfort foods. I have been leaning towards eating better, to be really conscious about what I am consuming, so no mornings filled with pastries, lunches of ham, bacon & pork loin sammies (hey, that would be a “cubano” and sounds really good right now. I confess, after writing this I broke down and went to 90 Miles for dinner and had fried pork! Look for that post soon.). So…. I have been cooking at home more. It also has to do with the ol’ pocketbook. But, one of my favorite saying is…everything in moderation, which goes for eating in and eating out. So, this week, it was all about eating in. Actually, breakfast is all about eating in for me, at least during the week. I OD’d on oatmeal over the winter and wanted to try something new and exciting for breakfast. That’s so me, always wanting something new and exciting. I had been making a few quinoa dishes as I was curious about the grain, this super protein, this Inca equivalent of gold. It is actually a seed, not a grain, and a closer relative to spinach and swiss chard. You learn something new every day. In my recipe search I came across recipes for breakfast quinoa. Jackpot! I made some alterations & bingo, breakfast is served. If quinoa was used to sustain Inca armies before going into battle, then it was good enough for my Tuesday breakfast! My creation: Quinoa cooked in almond milk with sunflower seeds, vanilla, cinnamon, maple syrup, and topped with dried cherries. Oatmeal who? I have been eating this for about three months now and have never looked back, although I have looked forward, more on that in a minute. This was so easy to make for breakfast. It was quick, nutritious, tasty and full of texture. I am all about the texture. The quinoa, the sunflower seeds, yum. More cafes need to add breakfast quinoa to their repertoire. Come on cafe owners, get adventurous, how many different ways can you make oatmeal? Not that many, as is proven by café menus all over the city. The easiest was to make this dish is to cook the quinoa ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. That way you’ll have the base for three days worth of almost instant breakfast. Recipe will follow. I promise.
I just have to tell you about my other even quicker breakfast discovery right now, before I explode! I had clipped this recipe from Food and Wine magazine over a year ago! Talk about procrastination. I wish I had made it earlier, as I love it. It is like nothing I would have ever imagined. First, do not be scared by this…. The recipe is from the “well being” section of Food and Wine and the group of recipes is titled Detox Diet: The Cure for Holiday Excess. It is from the December 2008 issue. The recipes are by Adina Niemerow who is a holistic chef and nutritional counselor in San Francisco. We had first tried the raw avocado and kale salad recipe from the same article and it was amazing, so I decided it was time to try this apple nut breakfast porridge. The few ingredients I was missing had been on my grocery list long enough. For some reason, maybe because it is called porridge, I thought this recipe would be cooked. It is not. It is basically a raw mixture of granny smith apples, almonds, ginger and white figs pulsed in the food processor and topped with goji berries and flax seed. Talk about a texture bomb! This is it. Texture, texture, texture, texture, texture from the apples, texture from the almonds, texture from the figs, texture from the goji berries, texture from the flax seeds. I love it. Quick and easy, too. Like I said, I thought I was going to have to cook it after I pulsed it in the food processor. Nope. It was done. It took all of five minutes to make. Breakfast was served, again. I can’t tell you enough how refreshing, tasty, good for you, satisfying, easy, this “porridge” is. You open the lid of the Cuisinart and you get hit with the smell of freshly grated ginger and apples. Mmmmmm…The figs add a touch of sweetness and then the flax seeds add more texture and nuttiness, as do the goji berries. Oatmeal? Oatmeal who?
Warning: You must check your teeth after you eat either of these dishes, before you leave the house. Let me tell you, those little quinoa seeds and those flax seeds lodge in between your teeth and make for a not so pretty smile! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
1 cup quinoa (I like to mix red and white. It’s prettier)
2 cups water
Rinse the quinoa in a strainer. It helps rinse the hulls off.
Cook the quinoa for about 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. You’ll see that the seeds acquire these little squiggly “tails”, sort of cool! Cool this down and store in your fridge for up to 4 days.
1 cup cooked quinoa
¾ – 1 cup almond milk
Handful of sunflower seeds (raw, hulled and unsalted)
¼ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 Tbl maple syrup or honey or agave nectar
Handful of dried cherries
Put first six ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, lower heat to simmer, cook until liquid is absorbed, about 7-8 minutes, depending on how thick you like it.
I add the cherries to plump up when it is almost done.
Transfer to a bowl (as all proper recipes would say) and sprinkle with more cinnamon
See how, easy was that? I forced myself to put measurements on the vanilla, and cinnamon, etc, but I don’t even measure, just add the ingredient to taste, a little splash of vanilla, a few shakes of cinnamon, etc. Most people may want more maple syrup. I just don’t like it so sweet.
Apple- Nut Breakfast Porridge
2 Tbl coarsely chopped raw nuts, almonds, hazelnuts or Brazil nuts, soaked overnight and drained
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
2 dried white figs, coarsely chopped
¼ tsp chopped fresh ginger
1 tsp dried goji berries
½ tsp flax seeds (she called for ground, I use whole seeds)
In the food processor, pulse the nuts until the size of corn kernels.
Add the apple, fig and ginger, and pulse until chunky.
Transfer to a bowl and top with goji berries and flax seeds.
What’s your favorite oatmeal substitute?