Sunday, December 1, 2013

Almonds, Coconuts, and Pumpkin Breakfast Porridge

My apologies, as I'm sure you have noticed, I have neglected my blog for the past few months.  For those who don't know, I have spent the last few years studying naturopathic medicine and this year I finished my program to become a naturopathic doctor!  Between graduation, licensing exams, moving back to the west coast, another exam, and working on getting my BC license, I've had my hands full.  But not to worry - while my hands have been full of books, papers, pens, acupuncture needles, and my stethoscope, they've also been full of plenty of good eats!  Now, while I am waiting for my BC license application to be processed, I figured it's a good time to catch up on sharing some of these good eats with you.

We're definitely in the season for warm breakfast foods, and this breakfast porridge recipe is out of this world.  But first, I have to tell you the story that led me to it!

 Yes, it does taste as good as it looks!

I finally made my own almond milk, impressed with the result and happy to be able to finally check it off my bucket list.  It was way easier than I thought, and tasted amazing - it really made me wonder what I have been doing this whole time, drinking the store-bought stuff!  The ingredients are pure and simple, free of any added emulsifiers or stabilizers.  Having been dairy-free for years now, I'm always experimenting with new dairy-free products.  Lately, however, there has been some publicity about carrageenan, a food additive highly prevalent in many non-dairy milks and linked to intestinal inflammation and digestive complaints.  It's a tricky one to avoid, since most non-dairy milks do contain carrageenan for its thickening and stabilizing effects.  I have found one brand, Silk, which is carrageenan-free, however it is not organic!  If anyone has found an organic almond milk that does not contain carrageenan, please let me know.  For now, I'll keep alternating between Silk and making my own!

Homemade almond milk and beautiful flowers from my mom!

I'm addicted to Angela Liddon's vegan recipe blog, Oh She Glows.  So, it's not surprising to me that her recipe for My Favourite Almond Milk absolutely blew my mind.  It has a very fresh almond taste, with the natural sweetness of dates and flavours of cinnamon and vanilla.  I won't re-post her recipe here, but I highly encourage you to visit her blog and check it out for yourself.  For the record, here's a close-up of how mine turned out:

Check out that gorgeous foam with flecks of vanilla!

Feeling increasingly adventurous these days, I more recently made my own coconut milk, which is possibly even more simple than almond milk!  Less squeezing involved - I used a wire strainer and it worked just fine.  This creamy deliciousness closely rivalled my almond milk, and really it's up to your taste buds which one you prefer.  Here's the recipe:

Homemade Coconut Milk
4 cups hot water (not boiling)
2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a blender, combine hot water, coconut flakes and vanilla and blend until smooth.  Filter out remaining chunks of coconut using a wire strainer (you can also use cheesecloth if desired).  Save the coconut pulp for making breakfast porridge (see below).  Drink coconut milk immediately or place in the fridge to enjoy a chilled beverage. 


I was so impressed with how the coconut milk turned out, I just had to show you two views.

As you can see, homemade non-dairy milks are pretty easy to make.  Actually, the hardest part for me was figuring out what to do with the leftover pulp afterward.  For inspiration, I did a quick Google search which led me to a multitude of ideas, but the one that most stood out to me was the one that used another ingredient I currently have sitting in my fridge - leftover pumpkin!

Pumpkin Breakfast Porridge.  It makes me feel all warm inside just thinking about it.  As a bonus, not only is it gluten-free and dairy-free, it's Paelo too!  So really, anyone can eat it.. unless you have a nut allergy.  In that case, choose your ingredients accordingly!

The site I found used almond pulp, but since I had just made coconut milk, I decided to use my leftover coconut pulp instead.  Here's the link to the original recipe, and below is my rendition!

Just in case the first photo wasn't enough to get you excited!

Pumpkin Breakfast Porridge

Ingredients (1 serving):
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 heaping tablespoons coconut pulp (leftover from coconut milk - see above)
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1/3 cup almond milk (coconut milk would work well, too!)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
Pecans, chopped (or other nuts of choice)
Raisins (or other dried fruit of choice)
Additional coconut pulp for sprinkling

In a small pot, combine pumpkin, coconut pulp, ground flaxseed, half the almond milk, sea salt and cinnamon.  Stir continuously as the mixture heats up, and allow to cook for a few minutes.  Add remaining almond milk as desired.

Remove from stove and transfer to a small bowl.  Sprinkle with chopped pecans, raisins, and coconut pulp.  Serve hot and enjoy!

That's all for now - stay tuned until next time for a return to my Healthy Maple Granola, which has gotten such great reviews that I feel inspired to share how I like to use granola as part of a festive holiday breakfast!


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