Tag Archives: chocolate

Breakfast Bliss

28 May

Breakfast does not have to be boring. It is time for your breakfast to explode! Are you an oatmeal fan? Well get ready-here we go! How about Chocolate Steel Cut Oats? YUM!

Here is what you need to create some breakfast greatness.

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Start by melting your butter is a heavy bottomed saucepan.

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Then sprinkle in pure delicious unsweetened Cocoa

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Give that mixture a whisk to incorporate

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Let that get all bubbly while amazing scents start wafting through the kitchen. Next, add your steel cut oats.

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Keep stirring until your grains are all coated with the succulent cocoa and butter mixture.

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Next, add your water or milk-I use some of each. I also add a teaspoon of vanilla.

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Let the mixture slowly come to a boil, then turn down to simmer.

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This is when you need to unpack your patience. Steel cut oats are loaded with excellent nutrition, but this grain takes a while to cook. Best to give this about a half hour to simmer. I make enough for leftovers, so this can also be a quick breakfast later in the week.

You’ll know its ready when it is really creamy.

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I usually have leftover quinoa in my fridge so any recipe can be quickly pumped up with protein and fiber. This is no exception. I mixed in some quinoa while the oats were hot

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And this is my finished breakfast. I drizzled a bit of agave over it to sweeten it a tiny bit

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Don’t be fooled by the addition of the cocoa, as it is loaded with beneficial nutrients. A few words about the health benefits of cocoa. It can offer include relief from high blood pressure, can help control cholesterol levels and stabilize insulin levels. Cocoa also contains elements that can improve mood, making it a great way to start your day. It has potassium, magnesium, and iron as well. Add cocoa to your diet and leave the guilt behind.

This recipe is great as is or you can customize it. Add in some maple syrup, shake on some cinnamon, stir in other cooked grains, or sprinkle in some toasted almonds. Its up to you-but anyway you make it, you will have winning breakfast every time!

RECIPE:

  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 T. pure unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups water or milk
  • Agave or sweetener of choice

Melt the butter in a sauce pan. When it is hot and bubbly, sprinkle the cocoa in and whisk. Let that get good and hot, and add the oats. Stir until your grains are covered in the butter cocoa mixture. Add the liquid, the vanilla, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down so the mixture is simmering. Watch this carefully-it can boil over quickly so it is important to get it down to a simmer and hold it there for the duration of the cook time. Stir every 5-10 minutes. Cook for 25-30 minutes, finish with your sweetener, and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shortcuts

28 Oct

It’s getting chilly.  Fall is in the air.  Time to have evening bonfires in the back yard.  The smell of an outdoor fire is amazing…and it represents fall for me.  The kids have a blast.  There is something about a hot crackling fire juxtaposed with the chilly fall air that is exhilarating.  A fire glowing on everyone’s face, kids sitting in chairs wrapped up in fleece jackets, and s’mores.  Yum!  S’mores are a campfire staple.  It’s a shame that you need a campfire to enjoy them.  Or do you?

Okay.  Picture it.  Perfect fall day.  Sun is shining, and the temperature is in the 40’s.  Nice and cool.  Perfect hiking weather.  So after getting Saturday morning errands done early, we set out on a fall hike.  And it was beautiful!  The trees were turning a million shades of red and orange.  Looking upward, the blazingly colorful leaves looked beautiful against the blue Carolina sky.  The scenery was beautiful and the hike felt so healthful!  After a couple of hours of solid hiking, we headed home.  And we were starving!

When we got home, we needed to eat, and fast!  Snacks on the trail were not holding up at this moment.  Although we worked up a sweat on the trail, a shower and “destinkifiying” was going to be second to having lunch.  So I went about grilling up a couple of sandwiches.  And we wolfed them down!

A shower was imperative at this point.  It’s true a skunk can’t smell himself, but I knew that the sweat I had worked up on the trail wasn’t resembling Chanel No. 5!  Off to clean up!  Then we snuck in a late afternoon catnap while catching up on our college football.  After the nap it hit me.  The craving.  So I cheated…and took a huge shortcut.

I had a craving for something sweet. The morning was filled with physical activity, and even though lunch was relatively healthy, something was missing. A trip to the pantry was in order. I foraged through the shelves, and came up with the winning answer.

Jumbo marshmallows, a chocolate bar, and graham crackers. There it was. The trifecta! This was going to lead to something naughty for sure.  I started down the road with reckless abandon.  Here comes my shortcut.

I pulled a bamboo skewer out of the kitchen drawer.  I announced, to no one in particular and with a slight air of haughtiness, that I had just found the most perfect marshmallow roasting stick out in the yard. Everyone knows that a stick from the yard is the only way to start lining up marshmallows for s’mores, but I was already on my cheating road. A skewer was my quick fix.  I loaded that thing up with 4 jumbo marshmallows and set it on the counter.

Next, with a bit of a mischievous feeling, I unwrapped an entire chocolate bar and set it ever so gently on a graham cracker.  I set another perfect graham cracker by its side.  The rich scent of chocolate was almost too much.   I had to sneak a tiny taste and let the chocolate melt on my tongue.

Next, I fired up a burner on my gas stove.  My mouth was beginning to water.  I hate that I was cheating with my s’more…there was no campfire in sight.  No blankets, no crackling fire glowing on the faces of the campers.  Just a gas stove and a craving that had to be addressed.  But I foraged ahead.

I roasted my skewer full of marshmallows on a gas burner.  A bit of a guilty feeling was creeping up, but I pushed it down as the scent of burning marshmallows began wafting through the room.  Oh yes, I roasted my mallows until they had that perfect brown color with some areas of charred burnt sugar.  They were beginning to slip off the skewer.  Time to rush those bad boys onto my chocolate covered graham cracker.

Oh yeah.  I laid those roasted marshmallows down on that chocolate and picked up another graham cracker.  With many years experience driving this culinary delight, my expertise was evident as I ever so gently laid that second graham cracker on top of the marshmallows and slowly slid the skewer out of the middle of the mallows.

A moment to pause in the s’more process here is critical.  The marshmallows have to smoosh.  The chocolate has to begin melting.  This is a work of art in the making.  Then comes the first bite.  Oh so good!  The crunch of the cracker, the creaminess of the chocolate, the dripping oozing marshmallows.  This is a solid 10 on the old “yummy meter”.   Yup, this shortcut was paying off big time!  That nasty craving was quickly disappearing.

A post script here.  This is not a first date food.  This is not even a food that should be eaten in the beginning of any relationship.  It is just impossible to look cute on a date with food falling from your mouth and strings of marshmallow hanging across your chin.  And of course a giggle is inevitable, which opens up the possibility of more food falling out of your mouth.  So make sure your relationship is rock solid before attempting this decadent treat with your person of significance.

So go ahead.  Get a solid campfire going.  Get graham crackers, chocolate and jumbo marshmallows ready.  Celebrate fall with some smooth creamy s’mores!