Hot Oat & Quinoa Cereal

Oats and QuinoaI have a long week ahead, starting bright and early tomorrow morning teaching CXWORX before work. I’m already tired just thinking about everything I have to do.

I don’t like getting out of bed any earlier than necessary. But, I also know if I don’t start with a good breakfast, it will set off a chain reaction of unsatisfying, unhealthy eating all day, most likely punctuated by sugar highs and lows. Not good.

In anticipation of my busy week, I’m getting a head start. Laundry is done, gym bag is packed, and before I go to bed tonight, I’ll put a pot of this cereal on the stove. Steel-cut oats won’t get soggy, and quinoa adds extra protein. When the alarm clock rings, I’ll still be grumpy, but at least my stomach won’t be.

Hot breakfast

Hot Oat & Quinoa Cereal

Adapted from Bon Appetit

For every 2 servings:
3/8 cup dried fruit (I used tart cherries and golden raisins)
1/2 cup steel-cut oats (don’t use regular)
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 cups water

Bring all ingredients to boil in a saucepan.

If you want to eat right now: Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until grains are tender, about 20-25 minutes.

If you are making it the night before: Cover the mixture and let it sit overnight. Reheat, covered, over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally and adding water if needed, until warmed through, 5-8 minutes.

Serve your cereal with any of the following:
Honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, or other sweetener of your choice
Something crunchy: try walnuts, almonds, pepitas or other nuts or seeds, or some Trader Joe’s roasted coconut chips
Fresh fruit: grated apple, fresh peaches

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Pumpkin bread slice

Pumpkin is a staple in my kitchen in the fall, but I’ve been making this quick bread year-round for years.

The combination of pumpkin and chocolate never fails to raise eyebrows, but if you try it, you too will become a believer. It’s equally delicious with butter or cream cheese, served for breakfast, dessert, or a snack.

Pumpkin chocolate chip bread is an example of a quick bread, which uses baking soda and/or baking powder as leavening (as opposed to yeast). When working with quick breads, avoid overmixing. Mix by hand until the batter should be just combined; 40 strokes is a good rule of thumb.

Pumpkin batter

I love that that this recipe makes two loaves. I typically give one as a gift, but it also freezes well. To do so, wrap first in plastic wrap, then foil, and then place in a freezer-grade zip-top plastic bag. To thaw, remove the plastic wrap layer, re-wrap in foil, and place in a warm oven.

Pumpkin loaf

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Adapted from Cooking Light

Makes 2 loaves, 16 slices each

1 3/4 c sugar
2 c canned pumpkin (1 15-oz can)
1/2 c canola oil
1/2 c vanilla pudding
4 large egg whites
3 c flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 c semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 8″ x 4″ loaf pans with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, oil, pudding and egg whites, stirring well with a whisk. In a medium bowl, combine try ingredients (through baking soda). Add flour mixture to pumpkin, stirring until just moist. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into prepared loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 70-75 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place pans on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Slide a knife around the inside of the pans and remove the loaves. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Caramelized Apples

ApplesApples are one of my favorite foods. They have a long shelf life, and you can find good ones year-round (though they’re still best in season, September-October, and pick them if you can!). They are versatile for cooking, and also great by themselves. Pretty fantastic.

This dish is great as a filling for crepes, used in bread pudding, paired with bacon, sausage, pancakes or biscuits, or by itself.


Caramelized Apples

From The Apple Lover’s Cookbook, by Amy Traverso

Makes about 3 cups

3 Tbs salted butter
2 1/2 pounds (about 5) firm-sweet apples (such as Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Jazz, or Jonagold), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup fresh apple cider
1/2 cup maple syrup, divided
2 Tbs granulated sugar

Melt the butter in a 12- to 14-inch skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the apples and spices. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are softened and lightly browned in spots, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the apple cider and cook, stirring often, until the cider reduces to a glaze, about 3 minutes. Add half the maple syrup and the sugar and cook, stirring often, until the sauce is thickened and glossy and the apples are tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Finish with the remaining maple syrup, stir, and serve.

Caramelized apples will keep, covered, for several days in the refrigerator.