Category: Grains

Chunky Chocolate Buckwheat Granola

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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The Winter Abundance Bowl

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Happy New Year, dear friends! As completely amazing as 2013 was, I am excited to start fresh and begin a new chapter. There sure is a lot in the works for the coming 12 months and I look forward to sharing it all with you!

But first off, let’s embrace the new year with something simple. Something delicious, yet realistic and achievable. So many of you have asked me if there is going to be another “action plan” or detox coming up this month to help purge the garbage we’ve undoubtedly filled ourselves with in December, and ring in the new year with a clean body and mind. I’ve also been asked countless times what my “go-to” meals are, and what I eat on a daily basis. Surely I’m not whipping up Butternut Squash Lasagna and Wild Mushroom Lentil Burgers every weeknight with a newborn baby, right? Right. I suppose I’ve just never blogged about my regular meals before because they really aren’t very “sexy”. They are real. And even though my simple dishes are a far cry from the fancy stuff I try to post here to entice the non-converted to plant-based foods, what the heck, I still think that they are special enough, and I am so grateful every time I sit down to eat. I call them, Abundance Bowls.

I can’t even remember the first time I made an Abundance Bowl, but it was many, many years ago for sure. When I discovered that you could cook almost an entire meal in one pot, I got very excited and began creating all kinds of seasonal combinations. It’s the kind of healthy, hearty dish that is just so do-able for every kind of person, especially those that are hungry and busy and still care about what they put in their mouths (isn’t that all of us?). Indeed. And even if you’ve never tackled a dish from My New Roots due to lack of kitchen confidence, I assure you, you can do this!

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And why are they called Abundance Bowls? Well, I guess because when I hold this meal in my hands I feel pretty darn lucky. Looking down at a bowl so colourful, tasty, full of appealing textures and overflowing with life, I wonder what more I could ask for? Abundance to me doesn’t mean extravagance – it simply means feeling thankful for all the things that I am fortunate enough to have. I hope when you tuck in to this meal you’ll feel the same way.

And in the spirit of making a fresh start, I am going to create and share an Abundance Bowl for every season this year, starting now. Each one will be simple to make, seasonally inspired, and feature a tasty addition that you can use in something beyond the bowl itself. For example, this Winter Abundance Bowl includes a luscious Garlic-Ginger Pumpkin Seed Sauce that can be used to dress all matter of tasty things, like salads, roast veggies, and cooked whole grains. It’s easy to blend up with very simple ingredients, yet elevates the rather basic quality of the meal into something special. Plus, is there anyone out there who doesn’t love drenching food in sauce?! Sheesh, call me if you find ‘em.

Like I said, the beauty of making this meal is its simplicity. Did you know that you could cook all these things in one single pot? It’s like a miracle. The rice and lentils are boiled together and right before they are done, you can toss in the veggies to steam on top. While all that is going on, whip up the sauce, then shred the cabbage and toss it in citrus, olive oil, and a little salt. This raw portion adds enzymes to the dish, which help with digestion, and gives the bowl a delicious crunch. If you’re not into cabbage, toss in some massaged kale or spinach.

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Here’s to a year of inspired health, playing in the kitchen, and total abundance. Thank you for the last 365 days of magic! Looking forward to another trip around the sun with you all.

With love and a full belly,
Sarah B.