Steel Cut Oats with Poached Pears, Pomegranate Seeds and Almonds + 5 Healthy Breakfasts for 2014

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“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”  Alfred Tennyson

A box of steel-cut oats sat in my pantry for far too long. They kept staring at me, begging me to make something with them, but I avoided it. I am a bit intimidated by steel-cut oats. I know they are healthy, but they seem like too much work at 6:30 in the morning with two kids begging for breakfast and a dog whining to go out. This past weekend I decided to give them a shot. Maybe the new year motivated me or maybe the bitter cold, but either way I set out determined to make a tasty and hearty breakfast. I researched recipes and found one on the vegan food blog Oh She Glows. The recipe mentioned making it ahead and reheating them for up to 4 breakfasts. Perfect. The kids won’t touch it, but Bubba and I will have a hearty and healthy breakfast for two days? Sounds great!

sco0002Here are the very intimidating oats. I know that sounds crazy! I am so glad I gave them a shot. The oats are packed with fiber, protein and iron, so I feel good eating them. 1 cup will serve 4 people. If cooked properly the oats are creamy, warm and comforting: perfect for cold, gray winter days.

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Nearly every morning we eat some sort of fruit with breakfast. This week it is pears. I found a recipe for poached pears by David Lebovitz. This recipe is so easy and the result is soft and sweet pears with just a hint of vanilla and cinnamon.

sco0027Seeding a pomegranate is difficult, but the Kitchn has a great tip that makes the whole process a lot easier and less messy. The seeds are a nice addition to the pears and chopped almonds. They add a little tartness which I enjoy.

sco0045The steel-cut oats taste best served immediately. If you want to save the oats for the next day; allow them to cool to room temperature and then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. When ready to eat, add a little milk and reheat in a microwave or on the stove. Give them a shot this winter. Your body will thank you!

Make Ahead Steel Cut Oatmeal with Poached Pears, Pomegranate Seeds and Almonds

recipe adapted from Oh She Glows

serves 4

Ingredients for Oatmeal:

2 cups of water

2 cups of milk (I used 1 percent)

1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats

2 large bananas, mashed

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

1 tbsp. ground flax seeds

3 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)

1/2 cup chopped, raw almonds (optional)

Directions for Oatmeal:

Combine water and milk in a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil. Add steel-cut oats and a pinch of salt. Stir and reduce heat to low.

Stir in mashed bananas and flax seed. Simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When oats are creamy and soft, remove from heat. Stir in cinnamon and vanilla extract. Top with poached pears, pomegranate seeds and chopped almonds. Serve immediately. If making ahead, allow oats to cool to room temperature and then transfer them to an air tight container and refrigerate. When ready to eat, add a little milk and reheat in the microwave or on the stove. Enjoy!

Poached Pears

recipe barely adapted from David Lebovitz

serves 4

Ingredients for Pears:

2 cups of water

2/3 cup of granulated sugar

2 Anjou pears, peeled, cored and sliced

1 vanilla bean

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 cup golden raisins

Directions for Poached Pears:

In a medium sauce pan, heat water and sugar until warm and the sugar has dissolved. Add vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. Add sliced pears and keep water at a low boil for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow pears to cool in the liquid. While still warm, add the raisins. When ready to use as a topping for the oatmeal, strain pears and raisins, reserving the liquid in a separate bowl, and add to the cooked oatmeal. Refrigerate any leftover pears in their liquid for up to 5 days. Reheat gently on the stove. Enjoy!

5 Healthy Breakfasts You Should Try in 2014

If you are a fan of smoothies, try Martha’s fruit and oat smoothie recipe.

Looking for a delicious gluten-free scone recipe? Head here.

I love pancakes and I don’t plan on giving them up now or ever. Brooklyn Supper’s buckwheat pancake recipe with poached clementine syrup is definitely on my list of recipes to try this year.

Tacos for breakfast? Head here for the super-food packed recipe.

I know I should eat more kale this month and maybe try a detox smoothie, but I want a muffin. This pear and hazelnut muffin looks delicious.

Rum Cherry Dark Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies + 5 Holiday Cookies You Should Bake!

CRDC0018I decided to squeeze in one more post before Christmas because these cookies are too good not to share with you. I rarely turn down a cookie, but my favorite cookie is oatmeal chocolate chip. When I saw a recipe on the blog Simply Scratch for rum cherry & chocolate chunk cookies I was inspired to make an oatmeal version. These cookies are chewy and sweet with bits of dark chocolate and rum soaked dried cherries in every bite. They are a perfect addition to any dessert table or holiday cookie exchange. Give them a shot this weekend!

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For professional tips on how to make better cookies head to the Kitchen and check out Joy the Baker’s post for home bakers. One bit of advice I almost always follow: let the dough rest for a day or two in fridge before baking. The flavors really meld together resulting in a better tasting cookie. Who doesn’t want that?

Rum Cherry Dark Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

recipe inspired by Simply Scratch and Joanne Chang’s Flour Cookbook

makes about 31/2 dozen

Ingredients:

For Rum Cherries:

3/4 dried chopped cherries

1 cup dark rum

For the cookies:

1 cup or 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 & 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 & 3/4 cups old fashion oats (not quick or instant)

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

3/4 cup rum cherries

Directions:

For Rum Cherries: coarsely chop dried cherries and place them in a small sauce pan. Pour 1 cup of dark rum over the cherries. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

For cookies: Cream together butter and sugar for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula a few times. Beat in the eggs and vanilla for 2-3 minutes or until well combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat again for a minute to make sure the eggs and vanilla are well incorporated.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, oats, salt and baking soda. With the mixer on the lowest speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture. Mix until combined.

Using a strainer, drain the cherries, squeezing out any access liquid with the back of a spoon and add them to the batter. Add the chocolate chips. Mix chocolate and cherries into the dough until evenly combined. Place dough in airtight container and refrigerate overnight or for at least 3-4 hours.

When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon about 1 1/2-2 tablespoons of dough for each cookie onto prepared baking sheet. I used a cookie scoop. Bake for about 10-12 minutes. Do not over bake! Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet for 5-10 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and finish cooling on a wire rack.  Cookies will last for up to 3 days, in an airtight container, stored at room temperature. Enjoy!

5 Cookies You Should Make for Santa!

I made these dark chocolate truffle cookies last year and they were a huge hit!

Looking for a gluten-free Christmas cookie? Head to Heather Cristo’s blog for a gluten-free candy cane chocolate chip cookie. Yum!

Do you like crinkle cookies? Try Meyer lemon crinkle cookies. I made a grapefruit version last year and they were delicious.

Sugar cookies are a must at Christmas. Try a brown sugar cookie this year!

If I had to make only one cookie this holiday season, this would be it! For a peanut free version, swap out the peanut butter for Sunbutter. They taste amazing!