Oatmeal Your Way

Inspired by the Polar Vortex, a recipe to warm your bones and your soul.

I call this recipe “Oatmeal Your Way” because it is very easy to customize to your liking.  Once you make oatmeal from scratch you will never want to open an instant oatmeal packet again.  This is the way my mom and Nani (my mom’s mom) made oatmeal.  It is as easy to make as it is nutritious and delicious.

I made it for my godchildren, Sachi and her sister, Michi when they were about 4 and 5 years old.  Sachi sent me the following letter asking me to make it again.

oatmealletter

It is a very popular dish with children.  It is also served to new mother’s and people who are ailing because it is nutritious and easy to digest.  Sachi came to visit me a few years ago with her daughter, Aleia and I made the oatmeal for the cute little one.  Here is a photo of Sachi, all grown up now, feeding oatmeal to her daughter, Aleia.  Made me feel warm all over to pass on my memory of my mom feeding me oatmeal when I was little.

oatmealnextgeneration

As I said, it is very popular with children.  I modified the recipe for Aleia because she cannot have lactose.  I used almond milk instead of regular milk.  I also ground the almonds in a spice grinder so that Aleia could easily eat the oatmeal.

INGREDIENTS:

oatmealingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. almond oil (customize by using butter or any flavor oil you like.  For example, if I am making pecan flavor I use pecan oil.  The options are endless–walnut oil, hazelnut oil, avocado oil, etc…)
  • 1 cup of organic old fashioned oats (organic oatmeal actually has more of a nutty flavor besides being better for you.  DO NOT USE INSTANT QUICK COOK OATS–they will turn out mushy.)
  • 1/2 cup raw slivered almonds (customize by using whatever nut you are in the mood for.)
  • 1/4 dried berries (here I used a combination of goji and cranberries.  When Aleia was visiting, I used dried blueberries because she loves blueberries.)
  • 1/4 tsp. of my Chai Masala (basically a combo of ground cardamom and fennel seeds)
  • 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon (customize by using your favorite spice.  Depending on the flavor you want to create, use pumpkin spice, apple pie spice mix, etc…)
  • 2 cups of milk (will make a porridge like consistency.  You can use more milk if you want to make it thinner.)  I used Fairlife Milk here.  It is lactose free and high in protein.  You can use any milk you like–almond milk, cashew milk, soy milk, etc…
  • 2 Tbsp. of Agave nectar (customize by using your favorite sweetener–maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, molasses, etc…)
  • 1 medium sized organic apple diced into large chunks.

oatmealapplesprep
Again, you can customize the flavor by using your favorite fruit.  You can also leave out the fruit.  I use what seasonal fruit is available.

  • Freshly ground nutmeg as a garnish for those who want it.

NOTE:  by customizing and changing the ingredients, the flavor combinations are endless.  One Christmas morning, I made a giant potful of banana walnut oatmeal sweetened with maple syrup and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.  I used a whole can of oatmeal to make sure there was enough for everyone’s breakfast.  It disappeared in 10 minutes.  I had to make another batch!!!

COOK:

  • Coat a medium sized stainless steel saucepan with 2 Tbsp. of almond oil.

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  • Add 1 cup of oats and turn the flame to medium-low.  Toast the oats while stirring occasionally.  You will know the oats are done when you smell a nutty flavor and the oats turn slightly golden.
  • Add the 1/2 cup of slivered almonds and continue to toast till the nuts turn slightly brown.oatmealcook4
  • Add the 1/4 cup of dried berries along with the spices.  Stir and toast for another 30 seconds.  The toasting will bloom the spices and you will smell them.
  • Add the 2 cups of milk.  You will hear a sizzling sound when you add the milk.

oatmealcook8

  • Stir in the milk.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the milk starts to boil.  Small bubbles will appear.

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  • Turn off the heat.  Stir in the diced apples and place the lid.  Let sit for five minutes.  This is enough time to warm the apples while still leaving them crunchy.

 

Remove the lid and serve.

Oatmeal Feature

Garnish with a grind of fresh nutmeg if desired.  Enjoy as is, or with a cup of tea or coffee.  Makes a great breakfast, brunch dish or dessert.

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year to everyone.  I have not been at home for most of November and December.  In November I was on the road for work–worked extra so that I could take time off in December for traveling and fun.  My husband and I started our travels in New Orleans and then took off for Europe.  Our vacations tend to be food centric.  It consisted of great dining, wine tasting and cooking classes.  I took lots of photos and videos to share with you in future blog posts.  I have posted some of my photos on Instagram at cookingwithloveandspices if you would like to see a preview.

Here are a few photos of holiday decorations in Europe.  The feature photo is from a small town in southeastern France called Bormes-les-Mimosas.  We went wine tasting in the area.

We went around the Mediterranean on a medium sized cruise ship.  I like small to medium cruise ships because it is like having a floating hotel.  I don’t have to pack and unpack as I go from place to place.  Here are a few holiday decorations on the ship.

Happy Holidays Viking

They also had a few ginger bread displays.

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One of the best food destinations on the trip was in France.  We were supposed to stop in Marseille, but were detoured to Sete because of riots in Marseille.  This was a lucky detour.  Sete is known for its oysters.  They were amazing.  Here is a pastry case in Sete filled with holiday treats.  YUM!!! So much to choose.

Happy Holidays Pastry

Here are a couple of unique Christmas Trees in Spain.  The first one is made of wine bottles.Happy Holidays Bottle Tree

The second one was in a beautiful Andalusian restaurant where I participated in a Master Chef Class cooking with a variety local sherry wines.  Happy Holidays Christmans Tree

Will share my Sherry tasting experience and the dishes we cooked in a future post.

Again, Happy Holidays and a fantastic New Year!!! 🙂

Yogurt Fig Parfait

This past July my neighbor brought me fresh figs from his tree.  I glazed these figs and I use them in many recipes.   The first recipe I posted was my Fig Fillo Bites

Fig Fillo Bites 3

I had some glazed figs leftover so I used them to make this parfait.  I also used them to make frozen fig cubes for a cocktail my husband created, called Texan Raspberry 75

INGREDIENTS:  (Serves two.  Double or quadruple the recipe as needed.)

Yogurt Fig Parfait Ingredients

  • 8 glazed figs with their glazing liquid (see my recipe, Fig Fillo Bites for step by step instructions on how to glaze the figs.)  NOTE:  There are 4 figs per serving.
  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt.  You can buy it or make your own.  I have made my own by using My Mom’s Yogurt recipe.  NOTE:  There is 1/2 cup of yogurt per serving.
  • 1 tablespoon of raw shelled pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon of agave nectar (you can also use honey)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground fennel seed powder (you can make the powder by grinding up fennel seeds in a spice grinder)

ASSEMBLING THE PARFAIT: in your favorite parfait or martini glass

  • Place a teaspoon of glazing liquid and one fig in the bottom of the glass.
  • Next place a dollop of Greek yogurt. Sprinkle with pistachios and a pinch of fennel powder.  Drizzle on a bit of agave nectar.
  • Next place two glazed figs with a bit of the glazing liquid.  Add more pistachios, fennel powder and agave nectar.
  • Add more yogurt.  Sprinkle with more pistachios, fennel powder and agave nectar.
  • Place the fourth fig in the center of the parfait and top off with a single pistachio for a pretty presentation.

Yogurt Fig Parfait Feature

Fruit parfaits like this are simple, delicious and impressive looking.  They are also very versatile.  Choose any seasonal fruit you like and any spice you prefer.  I have served yogurt/fruit parfaits for breakfast, brunch, a snack and even dessert.  As an added bonus, they happen to be nutritious and figure-friendly.

Please try this recipe and let me know your feedback in the comments.