Oatmeal To Go

Chocolate-y Nutty Figgy Oatmeal

It started to cool down in the Mid-West a few weeks ago.  I started thinking about oatmeal.  And chocolate.  And dried figs.  Oh, yes.  Then, Carrie went and posted her oatmeal with chocolate breakfast indulgence.   I decided, that was it.  Stop thinking and start doing.

I normally cook my oatmeal on the stove.  I know lots of people who swear by doing it in their slow cooker.   If you didn’t go to Carrie’s post and you want to use the slow cooker, cook it on high for 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours or on low for 4-6 hours.  For this, though, I wanted to be able to cook it and walk away while doing something and not have to think about or listen for a timer.  I used my rice cooker.  A truly set it and forget it appliance.  Automatically turns off once it is done.  Unless you have those fancy schmancy ones that turns it to warm once it is cooked.  And out here, those fancy schmancy ones are the only ones I can find anymore.  I miss my old simple rice cooker.

Back to the oatmeal.

So I was thinking chocolate and dried figs.  Carrie’s post prompted me to remember that I need protein for this healthy breakfast.  Enter almond butter.  It was either that or cashew butter.  Quite frankly, cashew butter is tasteless to me.  What is the point of a nut butter if it is tasteless?  Right?  Maybe it’s my distaste for cashews coming out.  But give me a break. I’m really trying to like them.  Eating them with mixed nuts and all.  And I even bought that jar of cashew butter.  That says something right there.  Namely, never buying it again.

But, I digress again.  I should mention I was up at 3:50am in order to be at work by 6am and I worked a full 8 hour day on my feet.  It’s now almost 7pm and I’m starving…anxiously awaiting the gluten-free teriyaki salmon that Chaz is fixing for dinner.

The figs.  I am in love with dried figs.  Figs are rich in B Vitamins, Potassium, Iron, Calcium, and Zinc.  Just to name a few things.  So, this breakfast is really an iron powerhouse between all the iron in the figs, dark chocolate, and almond butter.  I used Lindt 85% Extra Dark.  Just one square.  Some mornings I couldn’t finish my oatmeal and wound up taking it to work with me for snack.  It makes a delicious snack.

Juice It Up

Wake Up!

I have been doing more juicing lately.  Not only have I been craving juice, it just seems like a great idea with the changing of the seasons.  Spring and Summer just seem to scream for juices.  Light and refreshing.  Energizing.  Nutrient rich.  Sometimes it’s great to drink your fruits and vegetables rather than chew them one by one.

That said, I always have my juice as part of a meal and not as the meal or snack itself.  You lose a lot of fiber from the produce.  The fiber in your meal/snack helps keep the sugars in the juice from going straight to your bloodstream.  Generally, I like my juice with breakfast.  It helps me load up on the natural vitamins I need for my day.  The right combination can help you wake up better than caffeine.  Carrot Apple Juice anyone?

I have 3 juice recipes to share with you.  One that I love for helping me wake up, another that is just completely refreshing and reminiscent of Summer, and the last will help boost your iron levels.

Wake Up Juice

3 apples (I use any type of red apples)

2 carrots

2 cups of grapes.

Place produce in the feeding tube and juice.


Summer Lovin’ Juice

1/2 cucumber

2 – 3 cups honeydew melon

Place produce in the feeding tube and juice

Berry Beet-O-Full Juice

4-5 strawberries

1/2 cup black berries

1/2 cup raspberries

1/4 cup blueberries

1 small beet

2 oranges

Berry Beet-O-Full

Place produce in the feeding tube and juice.  This juice is a bit thicker than the others.  The Vitamin C in the oranges helps the body absorb the iron from the beets.  The berries also add some Vitamin C, but tons of antioxidants, as well.

Add a slice of two of ginger with the fruits and veggies for an added zing!


Garam Masala Quinoa

Quinoa.  I’d say it’s a great grain, but it’s not really a grain.  It’s a seed.  I learn new things all the time.  I used to think it was a grain.  Why wouldn’t I?  It look like a grain and you can use it like you would a grain.  But, it’s a seed.  A seed that is a complete protein.  It is high in folate, phosphorus, and iron.

Quinoa is coated with saponins which are bitter.  Some manufacturers process the quinoa to remove the saponins.  Some don’t.  I learned this after making this dish.  Chaz kept tasting something bitter.  I didn’t.  So, I rinse my quinoa to remove any potential saponins now.

When it comes to fixing quinoa, I tend to use other people’s recipes.  Or to fix it plain.  Several weeks ago, I decided to play around with it.

I knew I wanted to use mustard seeds and garam masala.  My imagination took me from there.

Garam Masala Quinoa

1-2 tablespoons coconut oil

1/2 onion chopped

1-2 tablespoons mustard seeds

2 teaspoons garam masala

1/2 – 1 cup carrots chopped

1 cup quinoa, uncooked (rinsed)

1 1/2 – 2 cups water

1-2 cups bell peppers, diced


Warm coconut oil in a large skillet.  Add onions, mustard seed, garam masala, and carrots.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add quinoa and water, stir.  Add peppers and salt.  Stir.  Cover and cook until water is absorbed.  Taste and adjust seasonings.