Oats every which way

I was just going to post my newest favorite granola recipe, but after receiving questions about oats from a couple of different friends, I decided to share some of my favorite ways to enjoy them.

Hot Oatmeal

My favorite type of oats to eat hot are organic steel-cut oats. I put two cups of oats and just under five cups of water in my rice cooker at night, set the timer, and in the morning, hot delicious oatmeal is waiting for me. Magic. If you don’t have a rice cooker, I highly recommend looking into getting one. My current little beauty is a Zojirushi and I’m sort of in love with it. It never boils over, keeps everything clean and tidy, has multiple timer settings for mindless cooking, and cooks grains perfectly every time with ease. End rice cooker commercial. I typically cook the oats in slightly less water than called for, and then add some non-dairy milk right before serving.

Standard steel-cut oats with maple syrup, dried figs, crispy buckwheat, unsweetened coconut shreds and chia seeds

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I’ve heard of people getting bored with or burnt out from oatmeal and I just completely cannot relate. The trick is to keep the garnish and mix-in combinations fresh, and not be afraid to try something new.

In the fall, I particularly love mixing in pureed pumpkin or carrot, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, raisins and walnuts (this recipe is nearly three years old, and as simple as it is, it’s still one of my favorites!) Figs, bananas, chia and flax seeds, nut or seed butters (tahini oats, anyone?!)  homemade chia jam, coconut, dried or fresh fruit, nuts and seeds of pretty much every kind are fair game to keep your bowl interesting. I use minimal sweetener to taste and really like using stevia because of it’s non-existent glycemic index.

Overnight oats

A jar full of oats covered in non-dairy milk and left in the fridge to turn into mush overnight has become a sort of phenomenon lately, and I love that! This stuff is great; but I feel like you need to implement a few tricks to make it truly enjoyable.

For overnight oats, I use organic rolled oats. I like to pulse the oats in the blender a few times to process them a bit, I’ve found this helps them soften up better while soaking. 1/2 C. oats makes a good size serving, and I use 1 C. of non-dairy milk per 1/2 C. of oats.

Once your oats are processed, put them in a mason jar, add in whatever seeds, nuts or dried fruit you want (and cinnamon, always cinnamon!), pour in the milk and a splash of liquid sweetener, put on the lid, and stick it in your fridge. I recommend using 3 T. of chia seeds because it gels up nicely and creates a pudding-like consistency. In the morning I like to add fresh fruit and some crispy buckwheat, or puffed millet or rice cereal for some crunch. I’m all about depth of texture.

Want to kick up the flavor experience a bit? blend 1-2 T. raw cacao powder, pureed pumpkin, or 1/2 a very ripe banana with your non-dairy milk before adding it to the oats.

Now on to granola. I love coming up with fun new ways to make granola. Pumpkin is a big favorite, but harder to sell in the summer months. So, this chocolate coconut granola was born. And inhaled.

 

You will need:

3 C. organic rolled oats (not quick cook!)

1 C. organic buckwheat groats

1/2 C. chia seeds

3/4 C. unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 C. sunflower seeds

1/2 C. organic, unrefined coconut oil, melted

1/2 C. coconut nectar or maple syrup

1/2 C. raw cacao powder

1/2  C. cacao nibs (optional)

Start by soaking the buckwheat groats overnight. In the morning, strain and rinse them well, until the run-off is no longer slightly slimy.

Combine everything except the cacao nibs in a large bowl and mix well. I spread my granola out on silpat sheets and dehydrate it overnight. If you’re not a weirdo hippie like me and don’t have a dehydrator, you can spread it on parchment lined baking sheets and bake at 225 for about an hour. If using, add the cacao nibs once the granola has cooled.

Add some fresh fruit and non-dairy milk for a delicious homemade cereal, sprinkle on top of coconut or soy yogurt, or just munch on it as is.

There you have it. Three of my favorite ways to enjoy oats. Not satisfied? Need yet another idea? Check out these granola bars. They are irresistible!

What’s your favorite way to eat oatmeal?

 

Raw kale massaged with fresh lemon juice. Carrot and cabbage…

Raw kale massaged with fresh lemon juice. Carrot and cabbage slaw, and grilled Beyond Meat chickenless strips.

Slaw:

1/2- 1 C. shredded purple cabbage

1/2- 1 C. shredded or diced carrot

Equal parts white miso, apple cider vinegar and agave nectar. I used about 2 T. of each for this amount of slaw.

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Last month was our 3 year veganversary!  On June 25, 2011, my…

Last month was our 3 year veganversary!

On June 25, 2011, my family said goodbye to the consumption of animal products. It seemed drastic to many around us at the time, but the decision could not have been simpler to us.

I’d been reading some books about becoming vegetarian, and even vegan, for a few weeks; but the idea still seemed iffy and a bit extreme. My heart told me this was the direction we needed to go, but how would I go about flipping our lives upside down in this way, and how do I get my carnivorous husband on board? On June 25 that year, my husband and I went to see a film called Forks Over Knives. We walked out of the theater, came home, dumped out the milk and threw out the organic, free range chicken and never. looked. back.

Lower numbers on the scale, higher energy, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and complete remission from an autoimmune disease. Those were our immediate results.

Our journey as vegans started as a health decision for our family. We focus on whole, plant based foods for the purpose of nourishing and energizing these temples God has given us. This has grown and evolved for me over the years as an intense concern for how we, the human race, treat the animals that we have been given dominion over. I won’t go too far into detail here, but after you see Forks Over Knives, I would also urge you to do some research on factory farming. My heart breaks for the victims of this industry. We can live, no, thrive without the suffering of animals for the production of things like meat, eggs and dairy. If you have considered trying out vegetarianism or veganism, or just want ideas on how to incorporate meatless Monday in your weekly meal plan, I’d love to chat. No matter your state of health, your grocery budget or taste preferences, this diet is for everyone.

I don’t typically speak in absolutes. I don’t like to burn bridges or back myself into a corner. Our ideals and opinions often change and evolve. However, I have no doubt in my mind or my heart that I will always eat this way, and that going vegan was the best decision Dan and I ever made for our family.

Vegan for life.

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Jackfruit “crab cakes” with grape tomatoes and a whole mess of…

Jackfruit “crab cakes” with grape tomatoes and a whole mess of sauteed kale.

For the cakes, I used this recipe. The only mod being I used wakame seaweed instead of arame, because that’s what I had. It works just as well so I’m guessing nori or really any type of seaweed would give you a fine result.

I served these with Follow Your Heart vegan tartar sauce and lemon wedges.

For kale, I saute in a splash of water, adding one minced garlic clove and a splash or liquid aminos toward the end, cooking just until wilted.

This meal is vegan, gluten free (if you forego breading or use g-free breadcrumbs) and oil free.

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Summer Quinoa stir fry Serves 2 – 3 1 Cup cooked red quinoa 1…

Summer Quinoa stir fry

Serves 2 – 3

1 Cup cooked red quinoa

1 Summer squash

1 Large tomato

1 Large red bell pepper

3 C. Fresh Spinach

2 t. dried basil, or a handful of fresh basil leaves

1 t. lemon juice

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

Pinch of Himalayan pink salt

1/2 package of Beyond Meat chickenless strips, or 1 C. cooked chickpeas

In a skillet, grill Beyond Meat strips in 1 t. water (if using). Add garlic, basil, salt, stir together, then add squash and bell pepper. Cook until they are softened to your liking. Add tomato, spinach and lemon juice. Cook until spinach is wilted. Serve over quinoa.

This dish is low fat, oil free, gluten free and vegan.

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