Category: Breakfast

Chunky Chocolate Buckwheat Granola

   173 Comments

chocgranola
Having a baby really puts your priorities under a microscope, because the little time that they are actually asleep during the day is your opportunity to get important things accomplished. Things like bathing, eating, laundry, doing your taxes, calling you mom. Funny then, that lately my priorities don’t include any of those activities. Instead it seems that the most critical thing to do as soon as my son shuts his eyes, is making chocolate granola. And yes, I really need a shower.

This trend began a couple weeks ago, nearly at the completion of my cookbook manuscript, the most overwhelming deadline of all time looming over me, that I got the most intense craving, not only for carb-y chocolate yum yums, but just to do something other than work and change diapers. When I finally put my finger on what it was I wanted, I whipped up a batch of chocolate granola so fast I even had time to sit and enjoy it before I heard the little waking whimpers of my babe. It was awesome. Needless to say, that huge jar of chunky, chocolate-y, uber-satisfying granola was sooooo gone almost as fast as I had made it.

Obviously this granola recipe is really, really yummy. Dangerously so. In fact it is so good, I’ll admit to pulling a slightly crazy/selfish move and telling my husband that it was “burnt granola” so he wouldn’t eat any of it. When asked why I was shoving scorched cereal into my mouth I sheepishly told him that I “didn’t want to waste any food”. Shameful! And since he’s reading this, now he knows I’m crazy.

chocgranola5

This granola is the kind of thing that you can eat right out of the jar by the handful, and it’s saved me on all the afternoons when I needed something filling and indulgent-tasting when my energy was waning. Although you can eat this stuff for breakfast, it’s a little on the rich side for my taste so early in the morning. I like to think of it more as snacking granola. I’ll leave the application up to you.

chocgranola4
Your Buddy Buckwheat
One of my latest obsessions, besides this granola, is buckwheat. Although the name suggests otherwise, buckwheat is actually not related to wheat, nor is it even a true grain. Buckwheat is the fruit seed of a plant similar to rhubarb and sorrel and a super substitute for people with wheat or gluten sensitivities.

Buckwheat has a high protein content, and contains all essential amino acids, making it an excellent choice for vegans and vegetarians. It is high in magnesium, a mineral with a pleasant muscle-relaxing effect. Side-note for the ladies: eating magnesium-rich foods before your period will help ease cramping, headaches and back pain.

Buckwheat is a wonderful food for improving cardiovascular health. Buckwheat contains rutin, a flavanoid that helps to maintain blood flow, keeps platelets from clotting, and strengthens capillaries. Buckwheat also reduces serum cholesterol and lowers blood pressure.

If you’ve ever tasted buckwheat honey or anything containing buckwheat flour, you’ll know that it has a strong, assertive flavour. Although it’s delicious as a porridge, or replacement for grain in a salad, stir-fry or stew situation, I would call it an “acquired taste”. In this granola however, it just becomes crispy, crunchy and adds a great texture

You can find whole buckwheat, often referred to as buckwheat “groats” at natural food shops and good grocery stores. Its natural colour is verging on pale green and has a distinctive, pyramid shape. The dark brown variety of buckwheat is called kasha, which has been toasted. Although delicious, for this recipe you are looking for the raw version of buckwheat so that you can toast it yourself.

chocgranola2

Although you could pretty much use any grain you like in this recipe, I chose oats and buckwheat for a tasty, textured balance of gluten-free goodness. And I can say with total confidence (as I admit to “testing” this recipe more than once) that any nut would be delish – hazelnuts and walnuts were my favourites, but almonds, cashews, pecans or Brazil nuts would also be great.

To serve, get creative. I really dug this granola with sliced bananas and homemade almond milk (which turns into chocolate milk!!!), but it would be delicious with yogurt, kefir, or sprinkled on top of cooked cereal, such as oatmeal. And as previously suggested, delish right out of the jar by the paw full.

chocgranola4

Whether you choose to eat this granola for breakfast or an afternoon snack doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you make chocolate granola a real priority in your life. Laundry can wait, emails can wait, and your hair looks just fine a little on the greasy side.

Coconut Black Rice Breakfast Pudding

   124 Comments

blackrice

The holidays are over. The rush of New Years has passed. And now we plummet, head first, into the depths of winter.

Well, that was uplifting, Sarah. Okay, perhaps it feels a little doomsday around here with the weather as it is. It rains, it pours, today it snowed, and I have to turn the lights on in the house at 2pm. Sometimes Copenhagen is so dark, I pretend that I am living on some groovy planet in another galaxy far away where there is no sun. For some reason, this makes things more bearable.

But you know what else makes things more bearable? Delicious food! Ahh…works every single time. Last weekend I had my darling friend, Earthsprout Elenore over for a sleepover with our babies (and husbands!), and for breakfast I made this Coconut Black Rice Breakfast Pudding. We were instantly transported to another place, far, far away. Instead of a not-so-groovy, poorly-lit planet we were on a tasty tropical paradise island – at least our tummies were – and I knew that I had to share the experience with you.

Let me start by saying that I am not a huge fan of rice pudding. I find it rather boring, in fact. But I had a light bulb moment recently when cooking up a pot of black rice, thinking about how creamy and sweet it was, that maybe using it instead of white rice would be pretty darn delish. When I considered the other ingredients used to make rice pudding, dairy milk, white sugar, butter, I realized that this was one recipe that could easily become a high-vibe bowl of goodness with some simple substitutions. Okay, it’s true that the combination of coconut milk and black rice have been thought up before (oops) but it was news to me! And such a welcome change from the humble bowls of oats that I’ve been eating for breakfast lately.

blackricepudding2

My Passion for Passion Fruit
If you can believe it, I ate my first passion fruit about three years ago. I could barely handle how delicious it was! The flavour of it was so explosive, bursting with high-vibe vibrancy – a golden, succulent miracle! And can I share what made me avoid these fruits for so long? I simply had no idea what to do with them. Seriously. I’d see them in the store, shrug, and walk by.  It wasn’t until working at a restaurant here in Copenhagen where we also sold organic fruits and veggies, that one of my co-workers sliced one open for me to try. I was floored.

The thing that tripped me up, and undoubtedly many others, is that when a passion fruit is ripe, it looks like something that got lost in the back of your fridge for a month, that you almost want to remove with tweezers. Okay perhaps that is a slight exaggeration, but ideally, that little golf ball should be well wrinkled before you cut it open. The inside of the passion fruit is not much better either: something along the lines of alien offspring. Once past the shriveled visage and goopy interior, you’re in for a real treat. The flavour is kind of like eating perfume, in the best way possible. It is sweet-tart, slightly acidic, and bathes your tongue in beguiling, tropical fragrance.

Passion fruit is quite the little health bomb too. Loaded with vitamins A, B6, and E, calcium, iron and zinc, the fleshy interior also contains crunchy, edible, fiber-rich seeds. Three passion fruits contain only 54 calories and supply your body with 189 milligrams of potassium, and 27 percent the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.

blackricepudding3

The final result of this pudding is silky, creamy and totally divine. I’ve always thought that black rice has a real perfume, somewhat similar to vanilla, so I tossed in half a pod after scraping the seeds out and it really added something special, while intensifying that unmistakable delicate vanilla bouquet of the rice itself.

In keeping with the tropical theme, I went all out. I biked to the local market and bought every single fruit that squeals of sunshine and sparkles and life. Mango, banana, pomegranate and passion fruit were my selections, and I felt like I was eating mouthfuls of vanilla clouds with juicy glitter on top! No big deal at all.

Yes, this was my breakfast, but I think it would make a delicious dessert after a light meal too. Today I ate it for lunch next to a protein-rich green smoothie – a fantastic combination!

For “research purposes” I made this pudding twice: once with soaked rice and once with raw rice. The texture of the soaked rice was better, and as a bonus, it cooked in about half the time. If you can remember to soak the grains the night before you are going to make the pudding, it will be tastier and faster, plus much easier to digest. To learn why soaking grains is a very good idea, read more here.


I hope this dish brings a little sunshine to all of your lives as we plod along into winter. You know, it’s not so bad when you have happy, healthy food to get you through. Let’s all keep our spirits high, fill our bellies with tropical tinsel and march onward!

With passion, fruit, and passion fruit,
Sarah B.

*   *   *   *   *   *

While we are on the subject of breakfast and Elenore of Earthsprout, I would love to share with you her amazing new app that she just launched: 30 Raw Breakfasts. This 30-recipe app is your ticket to inspired, healthy, whole-food morning magic (but gosh, I have to say that almost every one of these treats could double as dessert!). She’s giving away one app to you, the fabulous My New Roots reader. All you have to do is post your favourite breakfast in the comments section of Elenore’s post (on her blog, not mine!), and she will choose a winner at random. Good luck, and make sure you invite me over for breakfast!

DSC_8297-602x910

 

Birthdays, Layer Cakes, and the Truth

   124 Comments

bdaysandwich

I had a birthday last Friday. I’m sure that you were expecting a cake. Well, I was too.

So here’s what happened: I had my heart set on making a carrot cake this year. I wanted it to be the tastiest, not-bad-for-you carrot cake ever, chock full of awesomeness like dried pineapple chunks, walnuts, coconut, raisins – the works! And I wanted to top it all off with a vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, quinoa-based frosting (yup, you read that correctly) that would blow the pants off of any classic ol’ cream cheese number. I had all the ingredients in place, a seemingly solid recipe plan, a couple days to pull it off, and impossibly high expectations.

I knew I’d run into a problem the moment I sliced into the cake to frost it. Even though my toothpick had slid in and out without so much as a moist crumb on it just hours before, my knife was now almost stuck in a dense swamp of carrot cake glop. I panicked. I decided to open it up all the way to see what was wrong, revealing not just two halves of undercooked cake, but some bizarrely-textured sponge resembling pudding. The outside was a picture of carrot cake perfection – the inside, a confusing, sad, unsalvageable mess. Oh. My. Gourd.

I was in denial for sometime, thinking I could just “toast” it, but then it just got crusty and dry on the outside, while remaining a carrot bog in the middle. And the icing, which was so delicious, creamy and dare I say it, revolutionary, the night before, had turned into an acrid, unpalatable ointment. I thought that I could perhaps just take photos of the cake, because it could have fooled anyone from its outward appearance that great things were going on, then re-jig the recipe, go back to the store, and start over.

But what kind of person, may I ask, makes a birthday cake for themselves from a place of panic, and desperation? When I spoke to my friend, a very talented chef, about my carrot cake-tastrophe, she looked at me sympathetically and asked why I was being so hard on myself, inventing a brand-new cake recipe and thinking I could get it right on the first go? I broke down and realized that I was not in fact, a classically-trained culinary robot, but a human. A stubborn, determined, and very pregnant human at that, who feels an immense responsibility to her loyal readers to produce a dazzling recipe every week, but one who could also admit defeat. For the time being anyway.

Which leads me to the recipe. And the truth.

bdaysandwich4

For as many birthdays as I can recall, I’ve made myself a very special breakfast to start the day off right. Inspired by the infamous vice of Elvis himself, I’ve brought together the goodness of bread, banana and nut butter in a hot pan, to make a spectacularly gooey treat that would make anyone feel celebratory. When I realized with great dismay that the cake could not be saved, all I wanted was this sandwich. And so I made it. And it was perfect.

Although I have a couple recipes for nut butter up on My New Roots, I haven’t given you one for a mixed nut butter (a.k.a. Party Nut Butter) or a chocolate version yet. If you are especially into Nutella, or any variation of it, you’ll really appreciate what I’m sharing with you today.

bdaysandwich3

As a side note, I have tried making chocolate nut butter with liquid sweeteners before and it is not all that successful. You see, the fat in nuts is hydrophobic, meaning quite literally, that is afraid of water. When adding honey or maple syrup to sweeten the chocolate paste, the whole concoction seizes up and becomes an un-spreadable (however delicious) unyielding mass. This is perfect for rolling up into little truffles or something, but not for spreading on toast, or fresh fruit, or yogurt, or your finger. A dry sweetener will work however, which is why I have chosen coconut sugar. It blends perfectly into the nut butter without causing it to seize up and remain so delightfully oozy.

bdaysandwich2


So there you have it: my real birthday indulgence and the truth of it all. Food blogging is really hard sometimes. Although I always want to impress and delight you, I am just a regular gal experimenting in her kitchen, with no real background or experience in this stuff – just a steadfast obsession – and sometimes that just isn’t the right trait to make a perfect cake on the first try.

I learned a very important lesson last week, which is to be gentler with myself and to forgive my humanness. Sometimes it stings a little to face the truth – that the earth-moving carrot cake didn’t turn out just so – and all I can do is soothe it with the knowledge that I really, really tried. A grilled banana nut butter sandwich doesn’t hurt either.

Lots of love and gentle humanness,
Sarah B