It's that time of the month again, the Recipe Redux Challenge! This month's theme was Food Memories made healthier. At first I was planning on making some shortbread cookies from my childhood. My Oma (grandma) used to bake them with me at this time of year, but I've been feeling a little too weepy about family lately having had a few deaths in the family in the past year or two. So instead I wanted to celebrate a childhood memory that involves a living relative, my Dad.
Growing up my Dad cooked most of the daily family meals. He loves to cook. Technically my mom likes it too but Holiday celebrations are her domain while day to day was all my Dad. I loved to cook since I was very little so as soon as I was allowed, I would give him a hand whenever he would accept. He made wonderful stews, pastas, pizzas, salads, nachos (!) and so much more. For breakfast he was a bit of a creature of habit. Being Scottish, he grew up eating oats often. He still warmly recalls eating a bowl of hot oats each morning topped with the fresh cream from the cows his family raised. He says its one of his fondest childhood memories. My memory today is not that organic I guess, but it involves oats and a daily breakfast routine!
Growing up my Dad and I ate breakfast together almost every day. It invariably involved fruit, yogurt and oats, though often just a big bowl or two of hot oatmeal. With modern times he started to microwave his oats to a much denser cake like breakfast he then topped with either brown sugar or maple syrup and a little milk. I followed suit, if my Dad liked it, it was good enough for me! So oats became a familiar breakfast I ate almost daily into highschool.
By University I stopped eating oats because in residence I was given eggs instead. When I struck out on my own I stuck to faster breakfasts like Shreddies cereal and yogurt. But when the weather gets cold like it has here lately I still dream of hot oats once in awhile.
A few years ago I was living in a very drafty apartment. I was doing a lot of night activities (playing the drums mainly) and I would come home starving and cold. I would eat a big salad sometimes with cheese or some other protein like chickpeas, devour it and then grab a pot and lovingly prepare some oats on the stove and top them with maple syrup and milk. It was my favourite part of my day by far.
When I developed gluten intolerance oats turned on me a little. They started to sap my energy and really upset my stomach. These days I'll occasionally eat some wheat-free oats but I still wind up with the same issue so lately I just avoid them. Thankfully you can make porridge without them! Today's recipe is for my favourite porridge. I think its a much healthier take on the oats of my childhood. I use quinoa flakes for protein and a gluten free base, stevia and maple syrup sweeten it, and virgin coconut oil and a little vanilla make it rich and flavorful. If you're trying to lose some weight, quinoa and coconut oil and great dietary staples to include. Both help you burn fat and build lean muscle. I eat this delicious porridge a lot on weekends and sometimes on cold nights when I've had a long day. Its one of my favourite things ever.
If you have tried quinoa flakes and don't like the taste, try them this way, the add ins in my recipe make this porridge taste much better than if you added nothing and cooked them straight up. The sweet and rich flavours mask the natural bitterness of the quinoa perfectly.
Quinoa Porridge (with maple, vanilla and coconut oil)
- 1.25-1.5 cups water
- 1/2 cup or more quinoa flakes
- 2 tsp apple butter or apple sauce (the pectin in this ingredient helps the porridge thicken)
- pinch baking soda or sea salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (or more)
- liquid stevia (to taste)
- 2.5 tsp virgin coconut oil
- 1 tsp maple syrup (plus 1-2 tsps as a topping)
Heat the water and quinoa flakes over high heat, stirring until they get thicker and absorb half the liquid. Reduce heat to medium low, add the apple butter and stir in well, this will thicken it up more. Add the spices, baking soda or salt, 1 tsp maple and the coconut oil and stir in well until the oil melts in.
Keep stirring until you achieve your desired thickness. Then stir in the vanilla and as much stevia as you would like, tasting after each addition of a small amount (you don't need a lot since you will top this porridge with maple syrup). I add enough stevia to mask the bitterness of the quinoa but not overpower it.
Transfer finished mixture to a bowl and top with the extra maple syrup. Enjoy!
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