The Porridge Series: Date Coconut Amaranth Oatmeal (vegan, gluten-free)

This year, I challenge you to date amaranth.

 

Date amaranth?  Go on a date with an ancient-grain?  No silly – I mean I challenge you to eat more dates and get to know amaranth on a deeper culinary level.

 

To be more precise, I challenge you to eat my date coconut amaranth oatmeal.

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Amaranth is a high-protein, ancient grain first cultivated by the Aztecs.  What’s more, it’s gluten-free!

 

By itself, when cooked, amaranth has a nutty taste – at least, that’s what the package says.  I found the taste and texture to be a bit off…  I’m still working on it…

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about amaranth:

“Cooked amaranth leaves are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate; they are also a complementing source of other vitamins such as thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin, plus some dietary minerals including calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese. Cooked amaranth grains are a complementing source of thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and folate, and dietary minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and manganese – comparable to common grains such as wheat germ, oats and others.

“Amaranth seeds contain lysine, an essential amino acid, limited in grains or other plant sources.  Most fruits and vegetables do not contain a complete set of amino acids, and thus different sources of protein must be used. Amaranth too is limited in some essential amino acids, such as leucine and threonine. Amaranth seeds are therefore a promising complement to common grains such as wheat germ, oats, and corn because these common grains are abundant sources of essential amino acids found to be limited in amaranth.

“Amaranth may be a promising source of protein to those who are gluten sensitive, because unlike the protein found in grains such as wheat and rye, its protein does not contain gluten.”

That said, I decided to cook my steel cuts with amaranth.  I’m trying to use less sugar (in all forms, including honey and maple syrup) and I saw that I had some left over date paste in my fridge (more about this later), so I decided to add it.  I ran out of almond milk (isn’t that how it always is?  You discover you don’t have milk at the very moment you need it. *kiss teeth*).  So when the oatmeal got a little too much on the thick side, I added some water and stirred in a 1 tbsp of creamed coconut.  When I tasted my newest oatmeal creation I was taken aback.  It was good.  In fact, it was really good.

 

Naturally sweetened.  Protein-packed.  Hint of coconut.  Served with my broiled ugli fruit.

The best things in life often come as a result of improvisation.

I’ve decided to share the loveliness with you all.  Have fun. (P.S.  You can soak your grains overnight for faster cooking and easier digestability.)

 

1 cup of steel cut oats

1 cup of amaranth

2 cups of water

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp nutmeg (freshly grounded)

½ cup date paste (5 or so Medjool dates blended with ½ cup water)

 

  1. Bring the water to a boil and add the amaranth, oats and salt.  Cook according to package directions (on steel cut oats).  Both oats and amaranth should cook in about 15 – 20 mins.
  2. Add your cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.  Stir in your date paste.  Serve while hot.

The Porridge Series: Millet-Quinoa Almond Porridge with Crystallized Ginger (Vegan, Gluten-Free) and NEW BLOG

Hey!  Did you know I recently launched a new blog?  It can be found here.  I blog about legal issues, faith, and the many other things that I’m passionate about besides cooking.  I encourage you to check it out and follow me!

Here’s the next porridge in the “Porridge Series”:

1 cup quinoa

1 cup millet

2 tsp almond butter

1/2 tsp ginger powder

1/2 tsp cloves

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 cup date paste (5 dates + 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup water, blended)

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

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  1. Cook quinoa and millet together in about 2 cups of water.  This should take 15 mins.
  2. Add all of the other ingredients.  Garnish with pieces of crystallized ginger.  Serve hot.

I also encourage you to take a look at my red lentil dahl oatmeal and apple pie oatmeal.


Protein-Packed, Allergy-Friendly, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-free, Vegan, Nut-free)

It’s been a cold week.  I know I mentioned the cold in my last post, but when you don’t have a car, the cold is always on your mind.  I’ve been living in Canada my whole life, but that won’t stop me from complaining about the cold.  My stats tell me that I have readers of this blog from warm places like Brazil and Jamaica (hi and welcome to all of you! :)).  But just so you people in warm countries know what I’m dealing with, according to the Weather Network, it will be a high of -17 C on Tuesday…

Yup.

I’m not gonna lie — cold weather and bar study make me want to be a hermit and eat cookies.  I’ll admit — sometimes I give in to those latent tendencies and I bake up a storm (lol.  I’m just noticing that I wrote “bake” and did not write “study.”  Quite telling.  Anyways…) .  That said, I want to make sure that whatever I put into my body is nutritious.  I had a hankering for some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies the other day, and so I came up with this.

This is recipe is inspired by the cookie recipes of Melangery, Namely Marly and Oh She Glows.

Why these cookies are awesome sauce:

  • They are nut-free, refined sugar-free, egg free, dairy-free and gluten-free
  • They are soft and chewy and packed with protein. In fact, the hemp seeds serve as a plant-based source of complete protein
  • They are filled with omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, iron, fiber and other vital nutrients
  • They make the perfect after workout snack or accompaniment to a healthy breakfast
  • In terms of cookies, these are, by far, one of most nutritious I’ve ever seen (*humble brag*)

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½ cup sunflower seed butter (you can substitute another nut butter, like almond or hazelnut, but then it wouldn’t be nut free)

½ cup melted coconut oil

½ cup coconut sugar or brown sugar

½ cup Sucanat or brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 tbsp flaxmeal

3 Tbsp water

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (OR 1 cup brown rice flour + ½ cup buckwheat flour OR 1 ½ cups oat flour to make it gluten-free)

1 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

3 Tbsp chia seeds

3 Tbsp hemp seeds

2 Tbsp flaxmeal

1 cup chocolate chips, dairy-free (I used Camino’s 70% dark chocolate chips. Enjoy Life brand also has dairy-free chocolate chips)

There are two ways to make these cookies (or any cookie in general):  the lazy way (which is what I did and is my preferred method), and the proper cookie making way.

The Lazy Way

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat (silicone baking liners).
  2. Combine the 1 tbsp of flaxmeal with the 3 tbsp of water and let sit for at least 5 minutes while you prepare the batter. The mucilaginous, gelatinous properties of flaxmeal will turn this mixture into our “flax egg.” Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all of the other ingredients (except the chocolate chips and flax egg). With a hand mixer (or a wooden spoon and a strong arm), mix all of the ingredients.  Add the flax egg and mix some more until the batter is consistent.  If the batter is dry, feel free to add a splash of non-dairy milk or water until you have a firm, cookie like batter (not dry and crumbly; it should hold together).  Add the chocolate chips and mix again.
  4. Using an ice scream scoop or your bare hands, scoop 2 tbsp worth of the batter onto the prepared baking sheet and press them down into little rounds. The cookie should be no more than 1 cm thick.  If you are a stickler for aesthetics, you can round and smooth the cracked edges with wet or moistened finger tips.
  5. Put the cookies into the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes (I baked mine for 11 minutes).
  6. Once baked, transfer carefully (because they are fragile and may crack!!) to a cooling rack.
  7. These cookies can be safely frozen once baked. I believe the batter can also be frozen to bake later as well.

The Proper Way

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat (silicone baking liners).
  2. Combine the 1 tbsp of flaxmeal with the 3 tbsp of water and let sit for at least 5 minutes while you prepare the batter. The mucilaginous, gelatinous properties of flaxmeal will turn this mixture into our “flax egg.” Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine all of the weet ingredients (except the flax egg). In other words, mix the sunflower seed butter, the melted coconut oil, the sugar and the vanilla together.
  4. In a large bowl, combine all of the other dry ingredients (except the chocolate chips). Stir to combine.  Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  With a hand mixer (or a wooden spoon and a strong arm), mix all of the ingredients (including flax egg) together until the batter is consistent.  If the batter is dry, feel free to add a splash of non-dairy milk or water until you have a firm, cookie like batter (not dry and crumbly; it should hold together).  Add the chocolate chips and mix again until well incorporated.
  5. Using an ice scream scoop or your bare hands, scoop 2 tbsp worth of the batter onto the prepared baking sheet and press them down into little rounds. The cookie should be no more than 1 cm thick.  If you are a stickler for aesthetics, you can round and smooth the cracked edges with wet or moistened finger tips.
  6. Put the cookies into the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes (I baked mine for 11 minutes).
  7. Once baked, transfer carefully (because they are fragile and may crack!!) to a cooling rack.
  8. These cookies can be safely frozen once baked. I believe the batter can also be frozen to bake later as well.

Note: You can go all out with the seeds in this recipe and add more.  I sure did. 🙂

Note: If you used the sunflower seed butter, once you bite into the cooled cookies, you may notice that they are green inside.  This freaked me out, so I did some research.  Apparently, it’s normal and nothing to worry about; your cookies are still edible.  For more info on why this happens, see here, here and here.

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They may not be pretty, but they are yummy!  Enjoy these cookies with a tall glass of homemade almond milk and you’re all set!